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General Editor for the Old Testament : — 





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In the Revised Version 

With Introduction and Notes 




Cambridge : 

at the University Press 


(^ IS 

Z^iVs/ Edition 1898 
Revised 191 7 




The present General Editor for the Old Testament 
in the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges 
desires to say that, in accordance with the policy of 
his predecessor the Bishop of Worcester, he does not 
hold himself responsible for the particular interpreta- 
tions adopted or for the opinions expressed by the 
editors of the several Books, nor has he endeavoured 
to bring them into agreement with one another. It 
is inevitable that there should be differences of 
opinion in regard to many questions of criticism and 
interpretation, and it seems best that these differences 
should find free expression in different volumes. He 
has endeavoured to secure, as far as possible, that 
the general scope and character of the series should 
be observed, and that views which have a reasonable 
claim, to consideration should not be ignored, but he 
has felt it best that the final responsibility should, in 
general, rest with the individual contributors. 





I. Divisions and Contents of the Book 

II. Unity and Authorship 

III. Date and Place of Composition. — 

Historical Background of the 
Prophecies ... 

IV. Religious Conceptions of Deuter( 

[and Trito-] Isaiah 

Final Redaction and Canonisation 
the Book of Isaiah 


Chronological Table 
Bibliography . . . 

Text and Notes ... 








257 — 281 
282 — 289 


Divisions and Contents of the Book. 

The last twenty-seven chapters of the book of Isaiah 
are an anonymous prophecy, or series of prophecies, which 
all critical writers agree in assigning to an age much later 
than the time of Isaiah. The grounds of this opinion will 
be explained at length in the next section of this Introduc- 
tion, where we shall find that the question of authorship 
is a somewhat complicated one, being bound up with the 
prior question of the unity of the prophecy. Our first task, 
therefore, is to examine the contents of the chapters, in 
order if possible to discover the main lines of their literary 
structure, or (it may be) the different elements of which 
they are composed. On this point there is fortunately 
a large measure of agreement among recent scholars. It 
is generally recognised that the book falls naturally into 
three nearly equal divisions: chh. xl. — xlviii. ; xlix. — Iv. ; 
and Ivi. — Ixvi. A brief description of each of these sections 
will prepare the way for a discussion of the more intricate 
problems of authorship and date^. 

^ The division into three parts of nine chapters each, which 
is found in some of the older commentaries, was propounded by 
the German poet Riickert in 183 1. It was based on the obser- 
vation that the words, "There is no peace, saith the Lord (or, 
my God), to the wicked" occur at the end of chh. xlviii. and Ivii., 
while the last verse of ch. Ixvi. expresses a similar idea. It will 
be seen that this suggestion, though artificial and misleading, 
has narrowly missed scientific corroboration. It is now agreed 
that xlviii. 21 was inserted by a compiler to mark the end of a 


(A) Chh. XL.— XLVIII. 

The homogeneous character of this part is hardly open 
to question. A single situation is presupposed throughout — 
the eve of the fall of Babylon ; and all the ideas cluster 
round the one central theme of Israel's approaching deliver- 
ance, and the consequences for mankind which will flow 
from that. Certain leading topics — the inculcation of the 
sole deity of Jehovah, the polemic against idolatry, the 
argument from prophecy, the mission of Cyrus, the predic- 
tion of Babylon's fate, and the express designation of 
Israel as the Servant of the Lord — are peculiar to these 
chapters, and are never resumed in the rest of the book. 
The disposition is not, indeed, so closely knit that we can 
see a reason why each separate oracle stands precisely where 
it does, or that the remo\al of any one of them would 
destroy the sequence of thought. It is possible that the 
order may be mainly chronological, following the develop- 
ment of the prophet's reading of events. But we cannot 
agree with those critics who hold that the passage consists 
of a number of disconnected oracles, uttered at different 
times, and thrown together without any attempt at literary 
arrangement. It cannot be by accident that the section 
opens with the matchless Prologue of xl. i — ii, and closes 
with the jubilant summons to the exiles to depart from 
Babylon ; or that the centre of interest progresses from 
the broad basis of the monotheistic conception (xl.), to the 
evidences of Jehovah's working in history (xli.), and thence 
to the call and destiny' of Israel (xlii. ff.), and finally to the 
conquests of Cyrus (xliv. 2^fi.), and the overthrow of the 
tjnrant power of Babylon (xlvi. ff.). While, therefore, we 
must admit that the manner of the writer is rhetorical and 

section; and although in Ivii. 21 the sentence belongs to the 
context, and coincides with no important break in the thought, 
a very real and decided break is now generally recognised two 
chapters earher at the end of Iv. There is considerable diverg- 
ence of opinion as to the nature of the division — how far, e.g., it 
is to be explained by differences of authorship, or clianges of his- 
torical situation, or both — but the division itself has been very 
widely accepted since it was first pointed out by Duhm. 


discursive, and marked by frequent repetition, and that 
clearly defined subdivisions are hardly to be traced, we can 
distinguish (wdth Kittel) six main groups of discourses, 
which shew the unfolding of the prophet's message: viz.: 

(i) Ch. xl. The first fresh outburst of enthusiasm and hope 
called forth by the near prospect of salvation in the Prelude 
{vv. I — ii), followed by a meditation on the incomparable power 
and greatness of Jehovah as seen in the works of nature {vv. 12 — 
26), and an exhortation to the exiles to cast off the despondency 
which had settled on their minds (vv. 27 — 31). 

(ii) Ch. xli. Jehovah's presence in history is illustrated by 
the sudden emergence of Cyrus as a great world-conqueror. 
The fact is splendidly dramatised in the conception of a great 
assembly of nations, to whom the question Who has raised him 
up ? is propounded {vv. i — 7), and answered (22 — 29). Vv. 8 — 20 
form an interlude, in which Jehovah, addressing His servant 
Israel, assures him that he has nothing to fear from these political 
convulsions, which shall issue on the contrary in his final deliver- 
ance and victory. 

(iii) Ch. xlii. Israel the Servant of Jehovah : its ideal calling 
{vv. I — 4), contrasted with its present actual condition and 
unfitness for its mission {vv. 18 — 25). The first Servant-poem, 
vv. I- — 4, is followed by an appendix {vv. 5 — 9) in which Jehovah, 
as it were, pledges His Godhead to the fulfilment of the ideal 
in the experience of His people; and this by a short lyrical 
effusion {vv. 10 — 12) evoked by the thought of the great new 
thing about to be revealed. In vv. 13 — 17 Jehovah is represented 
as rousing Himself from His long inactivity to bring about the 
salvation of His people. 

(iv) Ch. xUii. i — xliv. 23. A somewhat mixed group, in 
which gracious promises of restoration and forgiveness are inter- 
spersed with expostulation and rebuke. For a detailed analysis 
we refer to p. 39 f of the commentary. 

(v) Ch. xhv. 24 — xlv. 25. The mission of Cyrus and its 
result in the universal diffusion of the worship of Jehovah. See 
p. 60 f. 

(vi) Chh. xlvi. — xlviii. The fate of Babylon, and its lessons 
for Israel. Ch. xlvi. deals with the collapse of the Babylonian 

xii IN rKoDlKTION 

religion, and draws a contrast between tlic ignominious hclj)- 
Icssness of its discredited deities and the unchanging strength 
of Jehovah. Ch. xlvii. Is a taunt-song on the humiliation of the 
imperial city. In ch, xlviii. the section closes with a recapitu- 
lation of previous arguments, mingled with exhortations to the 
exiles in the near prospect of deliverance, and a final summons 
to them to depart from Babylon and proclaim tlie story of their 

(B) Chh. XLIX.— LV. 

In these chapters the leading motive is still that of the 
I'relude (xl. i — ii), \n7.. the consolation of Israel and the 
prediction of her future glory; and the points of contact 
with xl. — xlviii. are so striking that some critics^ refuse to 
recognise them as a distinct group. The description of the 
herald of salvation arriving at Jerusalem in lii. 7 — 10 is 
obviously an echo of x!. 9 f. (of. xli. 27) ; the summons to 
flight in lii. 11 f. is 5. parallel to xlviii. 20 f. ; above all, the 
conception of the miraculous highway in the desert which 
runs through the first part reappears in xlix. to f., and 
rounds off the prophecy at the close (Iv. 12 f.). The whole 
section thus continues to unfold the programme fore- 
shadowed in the prologue toxl. — xlviii. In literary character, 
moreover, the two parts (A and B) have the closest resem- 
blance to each other; and the distribution of the four 
"Servant-poems" (see below) constitutes an important link 
of connexion between them (but see pp. 257 f¥.). But on 
the other hand there are differences which fully justify us in 
treating chh. xlix. — Iv., provisionally at least, as a separate 
section. The sudden disappearance of the most prominent 
themes of xl. — xlviii., and especially the absence of all 
reference to Cyrus and the fall of Babylon (see p. xxxix), 
are strongly suggestive of some change in the prophet's 
outlook or point of view. His mind is now occupied almost 
exclusively with what lies beyond — "the gathering of the 
people of God, the future of Israel, the restoration and 
glorification of Zion, as the centre of the new kingdom of 

* Dillmann, Davidson, Duhm, Gressmann, al. 


God^" — topics which are just touched on in xl. — xlviii. 
(xl. 9, xH. 2.7, xUv. 26 fi., xlv. 13), but are here the central 
and all-absorbing interest. We observe further that the 
appeal is now addressed to individual Israelites rather than 
to the nation as a whole, as if the great liindrance to the 
emancipation of Israel was no longer pohtical, but lay in the 
selfishness and timidity of the mass of the people (1. 2). 
Only a few writers^ have thought that these differences 
amount to a proof of dual authorship. How far they are 
to be explained by a change of situation is a question which 
must be deferred till we have examined the possibilities that 
He in the historical background of the prophecies (p. xxxix f .). 

The discourses of which this section is composed are even 
less closely articulated than those of xl. — xlviii. They are 
mostly of three kinds, which alternate with each other, 
without any discoverable principle of arrangement : 

{a} Servant-passages (akin to xlii. i ff.), in which the mission, 
experiences and sufferings of the Lord's Servant are delineated, 
as the foundation of all Israel's hopes of salvation: xlix. i — 6 
(with an addition extending perhaps to v. 13); 1. 4 — 9 (10 f.); 
lii. 13 — liii. 12*. 

(b) Apostrophes to Jerusalem (Zion) personified as the ideal 
mother of the nation', now desolate and bereaved, but soon to 
be clothed in beauty and restored to her Husband and her 
children: xlix. 14 — 26; li. 17 — 23; lii. i — 6; liv. i — ro; 11 — r7. 

(c) Encouragements and expostulations addressed to indi- 
viduals: 1. I — 3; 10, 11; U. I — 8; Iv. 

The passages which do not fall under any of these heads are 
li. 9 — 16, a prayer for the manifestation of Jehovah's ancient 
power, followed by the divine answer; and lii. 7 — 12, the trium- 
phal return of Jehovah to Zion, and a summons to the exiles to 
hasten their escape from Babylon. 

1 Kittel. 

2 Kosters, Cheyne, Staerk, al. 

3 It might be possible to regard each of these as introducing 
a subsection (see lii. 11, 12); but the division would find very 
little support in the somewhat promiscuous arrangement of the 



(C) CiiM. LVI.— LXVI. 

in passing truni ch. Iv. to hi. we are at once aware of 
a sudden change of atmosphere. The eager and confident 
optimism of the two preceding sections has given place to 
a prevaihng mood of anxiety and wistful longing, of hope 
deferred making the heart sick. The writer or writers of 
these chajiters have evidently undergone an experience of 
disenchantment, which is most naturally accounted for by 
the non-fulfilment of the soaring expectations created by 
chh. xl. — Iv. This would suggest a considerably later date 
for the composition of chh. Ivi. — Ixvi. ; and the inference 
is confirmed by many allusions to the circumstances in 
which tlie prophecies were uttered. The Jews are no longer 
a body of captives in a foreign land, but an organised 
community settled on its own soil, practising its own wor- 
ship, and exhibiting social vices of greed and cruelty and 
hyf)ocrisy which could only flourish along with a certain 
measure of political and religious freedom. There are 
clear indications of the existence of a rival community, in 
which we can hardly fail to recognise the Samaritans of the 
post-exilic period. It is true that this gloomy background 
is lighted up by one bright spot. There is a group of chap- 
ters (Ix. — Ixii.) which recall the brilliant images and antici- 
pations of the earlier prophecies ; and if these stood alone 
they might without difficulty be regarded as a continuation 
of chh. xUx. — Iv., with which they have very close affinities. 
But this would only prove at most that the section before 
us is not uniform. In a preliminary survey it is enough to 
take n'ote of the fact that there is a distinct break at the end 
of ch. Iv., and that the following chapters as a whole form 
a separate division of the book. 

The discourses are loosely arranged, but may be con- 
veniently grouped cis follows : 

(i) Ch. Ivi. I — 8 : a short oracle on the admission of foreigners 
and eunuchs to the new Israel. 

(ii) Ch. Ivi. 9 — lix. 21 : a series of prophecies dealing with 
various aspects of the reUgious and social condition of the Jewish 


community. Stern denunciations of worthless rulers (Ivi. 9 — 
Ivii. 2), and of the unreal religious service (Iviii. i — 12) and 
prevalent iniquities of the people (lix. i — 8), alternate with 
confession of sin (lix. 9 — 16), and promises of forgiveness and 
redemption (Ivii. 14 — 21, lix. 16 — 21). Ch. Ivii. 3 — 13 is a 
passionate tirade against an openly paganising party, which is 
obviously distinct from the society to whom the other oracles 
are addressed. 

(iii) Chh. Ix. — Ixii. form a group by themselves, in which the. 
glory and felicity of the ideal Zion of the future are depicted 
with a marvellous wealth of imagery and illustration. 

(iv) Ch. Ixiii. i — 6; a graphic picture of divine judgement: 
the day of Jehovah's vengeance in Edom. 

(v) Ch. Ixiii. 7 — Ixiv. 12: a long and plaintive htany of 
prayer and confession, voicing the feeling of the community in 
a time of depression and anxiety. 

(vi) Chh. Ixv., Ixvi. contain an alternation of threats and 
promises, addressed to the two classes distinguished in ch. Ivii. 
The true believers are assured of an abiding inheritance in the 
Holy Land; while the apostates are doomed to final destruction. 


Unity and Auth;orship. 

The protracted discussion of the authorship of chh. xl. — 
Ixvi. has passed through two stages. In the first the 
question was simply whether the author was Isaiah or a 
prophet of the captivity ; the unity of the prophecy being 
for the most part taken for granted. In the second the 
point has been raised whether unity of authorship can be 
maintained for the whole collection : whether indeed the 
whole belongs to one period of history. On both these 
issues a great deal of light has been thrown, and a consider- 
able consensus attained, by recent criticism ; and it will be 
the aim of this chapter to summarise the principal con- 
clusions that have been reached. Logicallj^ perhaps, the 
question of unity ought to have precedence ; but practically 


it is convenient to follow historical order, and deal first: 
with the grounds of the critical position that no part of 
these chapters can have been written by Isaiah. 

I. This phase of the controversy dates from the last 
quarter of the eighteenth century. Tlie first modern scholar 
to challenge the traditional belief in Isaiah's authorsliip, 
and assign the prophecy to an anonymous writer living in 
Babylonia towards the close of the Exile, seems to have 
been J. T T^oilorlpjn whose book was published in 1775^. 
During the following century an ever increasing weight of 
critical opinion has been ranged in support of this position ; 
and since Delitzsch abandoned his earlier defence of the 
traditional view in the fourth edition of his commentary 
(1890) it may without exaggeration be said to represent 
the unanimous verdict of Old Testament scholarship. 

The arguments which have produced this remarkable 
unanimity are all of the nature of internal evidence, and are 
usually classified under three heads: (i) those based on 
the historical presuppositions of the prophecy; (2) those 
derived from the characteristic conceptions of the book ; 
and (3) those furnished by style and language^. 

I. By far the most decisive element in the critical 
argument is the inference to be drawn from the historical 
background presupposed by the prophecy. This will be 
fully examined in the next chapter of the Introduction 
(p. xxxiii f.) ; for the present it is desirable to avoid the 
more intricate questions of date and circumstance which are 
there discussed. For our immediate purpose it is enough 
to understand that, by the admission of defenders of the 
Isaianic authorship, the situation contemplated in these 
chapters is that of the Exile, that the time is contemporane- 

^ His only forerunner, so far as appears, was the sagacious but 
wary T ewish exegete Ibn Ezra (f 1167) . who in very guarded 
language" hinted that the title of the book does not guarantee 
the authorship of every part of it, any more than in the case of 
the book of Samuel, of which only the first 24 chapters could have 
been written by Samuel himself (his death being recorded in 
xxv. i). 

- The following statement is largely indebted to Dr Driver's 
valuable summary of the evidence in his Isaiah^, pp. 185—212. 


ous with the career of Cyrus, and that tliese circumstances 
are invariably referred to as lying, not in a remote future, 
but in the present environment of the prophet and his 
hearers^. It may be taken as proved, in short, that the 
writer's apparent position is in the exilic age, and the only 
thing to be considered is whether it can reasonably be held 
that his achial position was different from this 

No question need here be raised of the possibility of 
such a projection of the prophetic standpoint into the re- 
mote future as is implied in the assumption that Isaiah 
wrote these chapters, i6o years before the age to which they 
are addressed. It is true that the prophets do sometimes 
take up an ideal standpoint from which events really future 
are spoken of as if they were past. But no passage can be 
found which presents any real parallel to the case before us 
if Isaiah be the writer of this prophecy. In all other 
instances the adoption of a future standpoint is but a 
sudden and transient flight of the prophet's imagination, 
from which he speedily reverts to his actual present ; no 
example can be produced of a prophet immersing himself, 

^ Delitzsch, writing in 1857 as a defender of the Isaianic author- 
ship, says: "The aiithor of Isa. xl.- — Ixvi. finds himself amongst 
the exiles, and preaches to them with a pastor's most particular 

concern for their varied moral circumstances If the author had 

another situation actually present before him, he is as it were 
completely detached from it. In vain one looks in the course 
of these 27 chapters for an indication that the prophet distin- 
guishes his ideal from his actual present, that he turns back from 
Babylon, where he is in spirit, to the yet undestroyed Jerusalem, 
where he receives his message, or that his consolation and admoni- 
tion ever turn aside from the people of the Exile to the people 
of the Holy Land, from the future generation to his own contem- 
poraries. This nowhere happens ; he lives and moves entirely 
in the Exile, there and nowhere else is the home of his thoughts." 
Hengstenberg's 'admissions are less sweeping, but perhaps on 
that account all the more significant. "The prophet, in the 
whole of the second part, assumes his standpoint as a rule... in 

the time when Jerusalem was conquered by the Chaldeans, etc 

In this period he thinks, feels and acts ; it has become to him 
the present, from which he looks out into the future, yet in such 
a manner that he does not everywhere maintain this ideal stand- 
point" {Christologie, 11. 195). Similar testimonies could be 
quoted from other writers. 


as it were, in the future, and gatliering round him all the 
elements of a definite and complex historical situation, 
and forecasting from it a future still more distant. More- 
over, none of the alleged parallels violate the invariable 
rule that the prophets address themselves in the first in- 
stance, and chiefl}', to the men of their own time. - Their 
descriptions of the future are meant for the instruction 
and guidance of their own contemporaries, whether the 
tenses used be past or future. But if Isaiah wrote these 
chapters he absolutely ignores his contemporaries, alluding 
to circumstances of which they were not cognisant, and 
using arguments which could have no force for them. 
There is therefore nothing in the nature of prophecy to 
lessen the inherent improbabihty that the prophet's actual 
standpoint is at variance with what is acknowledged to 
be his ideal standpoint. Nothing is left for an upholder 
of the Isaianic authorship but to admit that the phenomenon 
is unique, and to urge (as Stier does) that there are other 
unique facts in history which no one dreams of questioning. 
That of course is perfectly true, and if the fact were estab- 
lished no one would have a right to disbelieve it merely 
because nothing like it could be found elsewhere. But so 
long as the fact itself is under discussion, to admit that it 
is unique is to concede its extreme improbability. 

In answer to this argum.ent attempts have been made to 
shew that the exilic standpoint is not consistently main- 
tained, but that on the contrary the book exhibits just that 
alternation between an ideal and the actual situation which 
we have admitted to be a frequent feature of prophecy^. 
Passages are cited (chiefly from chh. Ivi. ff.) which are thought 
to furnish clear proof of pre-exilic origin, and therefore 
tnight have been written by Isaiah. It will be found, how- 
ever, that what these passages really suggest is not pre-exihc 
(still less Isaianic) authorship, but merely a Palestinian as 
opposed to a Babylonian setting. In that aspect they have an 
important bearing on the unity of the prophecy, as we shall 
see later (pp. xxix ff.). But even if we grant for the moment 

* See the quotation from Hengstenberg on p. xvii, above 


that the descriptions are applicable to the time of Isaiah, 
and are such as might have been penned by him, they are 
still a very subordinate element of the prophecy, and by 
no means justify the notion that they I'epresent the situation 
in which the book as a whole originated. The fact remains 
that the ^\Titer's horizon is circumscribed by the exilic age, 
and that he addresses himself to the generation then living. 
Instead of a swift flight of prophetic imagination into the 
future, we should have fugitive glances from the ideal 
future back to the actual present; which is precisely the 
reverse of anything that the analogy of prophecy entitles us 
to expect. If the passages in question were reconcileable 
at all with unity of authorship, it would be much more 
likely that they were written by a prophet of the Exile 
(who might have availed himself of older writings) than 
that they were composed by Isaiah for the benefit of men 
still unborn. In either case the imphcation must be that 
the exiles shared in the guilt of their forefathers' apostasies, 
as not having disowned them by a genuine repentance; 
and that idea is more intelligible in the mind of an exilic 
author than in the mind of one who had lived many 
generations before. 

Another argument against the critical statement of the 
case has been based on repeated allusions in the prophecy 
to predictions already fulfilled^. Strangely enough it has 
been supposed that these predictions must be those of the 
prophecy itself, and from this assumption the inference is 
deduced that it must have been written long before the 
fulfilment in the age of the Exile. This is almost as much 
as to say that the prophecy must have been written before 
it was written. It makes the book to be at once a predic- 
tion and an appeal to the fulfilment of its own prediction 
in proof of its divine authorit}^ a thing which is certainly 
without analogy in the prophetic literature. The writer 
is responsible for no such confusion. He does not say that 
the fulfilled predictions were uttered by himself, or that 
they are contained in this book. He distinguishes in the 

^ xli. 26 f., xlii. 9, xliv. 8, xlv. 21, xlvi. 10 f., xlviii. 3 ff. 

x\ • IN'l'l^ODlUTTON 

clearest manner between the predictions that have come to 
pass and those that still await their verification^ He him- 
self claims to be the medium of new prophecies concerning 
the deliverance of Israel and the glorious future to follow, 
but he does not claim that these have been fulfilled. What 
prophecies he had in view we cannot with certainty deter- 
mine, but they were predictions of the rise and conquests of 
Cyrus, and these are events which al the iinie of writing he 
assumes as known. We think it probable that he refers to 
predictions previously uttered through him ; but if so they 
belong to the past, and had become history before the com- 
position of this book, of whose message they form no part. 
It is certain, at all events, that no such prophecies existed 
in the time of Isaiah ; and to imagine that Isaiah himself 
composed them, and at the same time appealed to their 
accomplishment as a proof of divine foreknowledge, is to 
attribute to him an unreality of thought entirely at variance 
with his character. 

2. We have next to compare the leading ideas of tlie 
prophet's theology, as described in Chapter iv. below, with 
those characteristic of Isaiah (Vol. i. pp. xlvii — Ixx). Here 
again we may anticipate the results of the fuller statement 
to be given later, by selecting a few outstanding doctrines 
in which the contrast appears. 

There is a difference, (a) first of all, in the conception of 
God as presented in the two parts of the book. The writer 
of chh. xl. ff. loves to expatiate on the infinitude and eternity 
of Jehovah, on His incomparableness, on the fact that 
He is the Creator of the universe, the Author of Life, the 
omnipresent Ruler of history (see pp. 1 ff.). Universality or 
Infinit}^ indeed, may be said to be the distinctive feature 
in the writer's thoughts about God. These truths are no 
doubt implicitly contained in Isaiah's idea of God, but we 
search his undisputed prophecies in vain for the direct incul- 
cation of them as abstract truths of religion. If they do 
not belong of necessity to a later stage of revelation, they 
are at least more intelligible in an age when Israel's views 

^ See p. 25. 


of the world had been expanded by direct contact with the 
world-empire of Babylon, (b) Again, one of Isaiah's most, 
characteristic doctrines is that of the elect remnant of Israel, 
which is to survive the judgement and inherit the promise 
of the future. This doctrine is not, indeed, wholly absent 
from the later chapters (see lix. 20, Ixv. 8, 9), but it occupies 
a very subordinate place; "it is not expressed in Isaiah's 
phraseology, and is not more prominent than it is in the 
writings of many later prophets^." (c) On the other hand, 
the mission and destiny of Israel as a nation are expounded 
in these chapters in a manner to which there is no parallel 
in the uncontested writings of Isaiah (pp. Ivff.). {d) To 
take one more example, the central position occupied by the 
Messianic King in the writings of Isaiah is assumed in chh. 
xl. ff. by the entirely distinct figure of the Servant of Jeho- 
vah. It is possible (though denied by most expositors) 
that there is a single allusion to the Messianic King in ch. Iv. 
3, 4. But even if this be the case, it only illustrates the 
wholly secondary position which the idea holds in the 
writer's thinking. Nor can it be supposed that the figure 
of the Servant of Jehovah is a form into which that of the 
Messiah might have developed at a late stage in Isaiah's 
career; it is a new creation, resting on different analogies, 
an idealisation not of the King, but of the Nation. Many 
other points of difference might be adduced, if space per- 
mitted; but these are perhaps sufficient. They relate to 
features which are distinctive, on the one side or the other, 
and there are few if any conceptions at all distinctive in 
which the two sections of the book agree. Whatever weight, 
therefore, may be assigned to these considerations, it is at 
least undeniable that they point rather to diversity than to 
identity of authorship. 

3. The evidence of style and language is very decidedly 
against the probability that Isaiah is the author of chh. 
xl. — Ixvi. The general style of these chapters presents 
in many respects a strong contrast to that of Isaiah. The 
difference is one to be felt rather than described ; and it 

^ Driver (/. c. p. 206), who instances Am. v. 15, ix. 9; Mic. ii. 
12, v. 7 f . ; Zeph. iii. 13; Jer. iv. 27, xxx. 11, xxxi. 7. 


may readily be felt, even througli tlie medium of a transla- 
tion. Speaking broadly, it may be said that Isaiah's style is 
distinguished by force and compression, while that of the 
later chapters is profuse and flowing, with a marked tendency 
to amplification and repetition. "The work of Deutero- 
Isaiah is distinguished by a certain lyrical quality among the 
other products of the prophetic literature of Israel. His 
language has a poetic quality which reflects the exalted 
m<K)d of an ecstatic spirit viewing events and persons from 
the altitude of a sublime idealism, rather than from the point 
of view of a practical politician or man of affairs " (Box, 
p. 1 80). Isaiah, with the exception of a few favourite and 
graphic phrases, rarely repeats himself, and nevei dilates, 
but the writer of chh. xl. ff. constantly reverts to a few fixed 
themes, with a copiousness of diction which is always im- 
pressive. In illustration of this full and expansive manner 
of expression, two stylistic peculiarities may be mentioned : 
(i) the duplication of the opening word of a sentence or of 
1 some other emphatic word (xl.~f7xIiii.T1725TxTvm.T1, 15, 
li. 9, 12, 17, Iim',~TT7-lvti. 6, 14, Ixii. 10, Ixv. i) ; and (2) the 
habit of attaching a series of descriptive participial (or rela- 
tive) clauses to the name of God, or Israel, or Cyrus (see xl. 
22 f., 28 f., xli. 8 f., 17, xlii. 5, xliii. 16 f., xlv. 7, 18, xlvi. 10 i., 
etc., and especially the splendid passage xliv. 24 — 28). A 
corresponding difference of imaginative quality may also be 
detected : each writer is gifted in an unusual degree with the 
sense of the sublime; but the sublimity of Isaiah's images 
is that of concentrated (often destructive) energy, while 
the later writer's imagination revels chiefly in the thought 
of physical magnitude (the spacious heavens, the innumer- 
able starry host, the mountains, the coastlands, etc.). 
There is besides a strain. of pathos in the imagery of the 
later part of the book which is absent from that of Isaiah 
(see Driver, Isaiah^, pp. 182 ff.). 

The linguistic argument is capable of being brought to 
a definite test by comparison of words and phrases charac- 
teristic of the two portions of the book. There is of course 
a large number of expressions common to both, and lists 
of such expressions have been drawn up for the purpose o 

shewing that the style is the same. But on examination 
these Hsts shrink to very insignificant dimensions, and reaUy 
prove little more than that both sections are wiitten in good 
Hebrew^. The only coincidences which arrest attention 
are the three follov/ing: (i) Isaiah's designation of Jehovah 
as "the Holy One of Israel," which occurs fourteen times in 
chh. xl. — Ixvi., and only five times outside the book of Isaiah. 
This is undoubtedly an important link of connexion. But 
a phrase like this, expressing an important theological idea, 
is j ust one of those likely to be borrowed by one writer from 
another, and therefore, unless supported by other resem- 
blances, it hardly counts in the argument for unity of 
authorship. (2) The divine title "Mighty One {'dbir) of 
Israel (or Jacob) " occurs in ch. i. 24, xlix. 26, and Ix. 16 
(also in Gen. xlix. 24; Ps. cxxxii. 2, 5). The coincidence is 
not important, since the phrase is obviously borrowed by 
the various writers from the blessing of Jacob (Gen. xlix. 24). 
Moreover ch. Ix. 16 is clearly a quotation from xlix. 26. 
(3) The fQiTmila_^^|jaith Jehovah," with the imperfect tense 
instead of- the -usual perfect. This is found in ch. i. 11, 18, 
[xxxiii. 10], xl. I, 25, xli. 21, Ixvi.-^g; also in Ps. xii. 5. It 
must be admitted that this is a stylistic peculiarity of the 
kind which would suggest literary identity, but being an 
almost solitary instance, and being found, moreover, only 
twice in Isaiah, it has little weight, and is more than counter- 
balanced by the contrary evidence which can be adduced. 

Over against this slender array of coincidences we have 
a large number of characteristic expressions in which the 

^ For example, a list of 34 such words is given by Cheyne 
(not of course with the object of proving identical authorship) 
in his Introduction, pp. 251 ff. If the reader will take the trouble 
to go through this list, and strike out (i) words which are found 
in chh. i.- — xxxix. only in passages probably not written by Isaiah, 
and (2) those found only once in either part of the book, and 
therefore not as a rule distinctive of its style, he will find that 
not more than six remain. These are "seek Jehovah," Jacob, 
"house of Jacob," "high and lifted up," tdrdh (= instruction), 
and a rare form of the preposition from. All these except the 
fourth are frequent in other writings. A list of seven divine titles 
{ibid. p. 254) is equally indecisive, except as regards "the Holy 
One of Israel," which is discussed above. 


two writings differ. Konig^ justly remarks that in this 
discussion special importance attaches to those slighter and 
less signilicant elements of discourse where one word might 
indifferently be substituted for another, so that a marked 
preference for any parti cular idiom can jQlllj:,]2£_dU£.lQ, Jlic 
literary habit of the author or his .age. He instances the 
lollomng cases of this kind as characteristic of the seognd 
part of Isaiah (the list is here slightly abridged and corrected 
in some points) : 

(i) 'aph (= also, with various sliades of meaning): 25 times 
in clih. xl. — xlviii. ; never in undisputed portions of Isaiah. 

(2) 6a/ f negative particle): eight times in xl. — xliv. ; about 
15 times in late parts of i. — xxxv. ; never in the genuine Isaiah. 

(3) hen (= behold): about 21 times; in Isaiah only xxxii. i 
(? xxiii. 13). 

(4) llma'an (= in order that, for the sake of) : 16 times; once 
in Isaiah (v. 19). 

(5) mS'od (= very): xlvii. 9, Ivi. 12, Ixiv. 9, 12; in Isaiah, 
xxxi. I. 

(6) pl'itUdh (= work, reward): xl. 10, xlix. 4, Ixi. 8, Ixii. 11, 
Ixv. 7 ; noVhere in Isaiah. 

(7) zedek {= righteousness): about 17 times; in Isaiah only 
i. 21, 26, xi. 4 f., xxxii. i. 

(8) stJs, sas(5n, wia5(5s (= rejoice, joy): some 15 times; 3 times 
in Isaiah. 

(9) tohii (= chaos, nothingness): about 8 times; never in 

(10) Ig'dldm (= for ever): xl. 8, xlvii. 7, H. 6, 8, Ix. s,i; and 
Idmid (= continually) : xlix. 16, li. 13, lii. 5, Ivii. ii, Ix. 11, Ixii. 6, 
ixv. 3. Isaiah uses Idnizah (xxviii. 28), and Wad (xxx. 8). 

(11) Idmd (an unusual suffix): xliii. 8, xliv. 7, 15 (? liii. S). 
To these should be added : 

(12)' yahad, yahddv (= together): a peculiar pleonastic idiom 
illustrated by xU. 19, 20, and occurring some 15 times in chh. 
xl. — Ixvi. 

^ Offenbarungsbegriff des A. T. Vol. i. p. 211 f.; Einleitung^ 
p. 322. 

CHAKA(^iliKibiiU t'MJXAbJib XXV 

The followtng is a list of more expressive words and 
^jjhrases^more or less characteristic of the later chapters, 
and occurring either not at all or only once in the undis- 
puted portions of Isaiah^: 

(13) all flesh: xl. 5, 6, xlix. 26, Ixvi. 16, 23, 24. 

(14) 'owjwi (= strength) : xl. 26, 29. 

(15) 'ephes (= nothing): xl. 17, xli. 12, 29, xlv. 6, 14, xlvi. 9, 
xlvii. 8, 10, lii. 4, liv. 15. In Isaiah only v. 8. 

(16) 'iyytm (= coastlands) : xl. 15, xli. i. 5, xlii. 4, 10, 12, 15, 
xlix. I; li. 5, lix. 18, Ix. 9, Ixvi. 19. In Isaiah only the sing, 'iy, 
in its proper restricted signification, xx. 6, xxiii. 2, 6. 

(17) ends (or end) of the earth : xl. 28, xU. 5, 9, xlii. 10, xliii. 6, 
xlv. 22, xlviii. 20, xlix. 6, lii. 10, Ixii.'ii. 

(18) ga'al (= redeem): verb and participle are used over 
20 times. 

(19) bdra' (= create) : about 16 times; in Isaiah only iv. 5, — 
a doubtful passage. 

(20) choose, chosen (of Israel or the Ser\'ant of Jehovah): 
12 times. 

(21) lift lip (your) eyes, etc. : xl. 26, xlix. 18, h. 6, Ix. 4. 

(22) hephez (= pleasure), liv. 12, Ixii. 4 : (= purpose), xliv. 28, 
xlvi. 10, xlviii. 14, hii. 10: (= business), Iviii. 3, 13. 

(23) paer (= deck) and hithpd'er (= deck oneself): xhv. 23, 
xlix. 3, Iv. 5, Ix. 7, 9, 13, 21, Ixi. 3. In Isa. only x. 15. 

(24) break outinto singing: xliv. 23, xlix. 13. lii. 9, liv. i, Iv. 12. 

(25) hillel and tehilldh (= praise, vb. and subst.), hithhallel 
(= exult): xh. 16, xlii. 8, 10, 12, xUii. 21, xlv. 25, xlviii. 9, Ix. 6, 
18, Ixi. 3, II, Ixii. 7, 9, Ixiii. 7, Ixiv. 11 [10]. 

(26) hdshdh (qal and hiph. = be silent): xlii. 14, Ivii. 11, Ixii. 
I, 6, Ixiv. 12, Ixv. 6. 

(27) ze'ezd'im (= offspring) : xhi. 5, xliv. 3, xlviii. 19, Ixi. g, 
Lxv. 23. Tsa. only xxii. 24. 

(28) zdmah (= sprout): xliv. 4, xlv. 8, Iv. 10, hdii. 8, Ixi. 11. 
Note the unique metaphorical appUcation to an event coming to 
pass, in.xlii. 9, xUii. 19. 

1 This list and the next are for the most part abridged from the 
three given in Driver's Isaiah^, pp. 194 — 199, which the reader 
should by all means consult. 


(29) Holy City: xlviii. 2, lii. i (cf. Ixiv. 10). 

(30) rdt6n (= favour): xlix. 8, Ivi. 7, Iviii. 5, Ix. 7, 10, fxi. 2. 
(3^) from the first {tner^sh): xl. 21, xli. 4, 26, xlviii. 16. 

(32) /ov lo heart: xlii. 25, xlvii. 7, Ivii. i, 11. 

Still more suggestive is a list of Isaiah's characteristic 
expressions, not found at all in chh. xl. — Ixvi. Tlie follow- 
ing examples (from Driver) may be noted : 

(i) the Lord, Jehovah of Hosts: i. 24, iii. i, x. 16, 33, xix. 4. 

(2) 'dlUtm (=' nonentities, of idols): ii. 8, 18, 20, x. 11, xix 
I, 3, xxxi. 7. 

(3) niirmds (- trampling): v. 5, vii. 25, x. 6, xxviii. 18. 

(4) glory (of a nation) : v. 13, viii. 7, x. 16, i8, xvi. 14, xvii. 3, 
4 ; (of an individual), xxii. 18. 

» (5) smear (of the eyes): vi. 10, xxix. 9, xxxii. 3. 

(6) siksek (= incite): ix. 11, xix. 2 (nowhere else). 

(7) sh£'ar (= remnant) : vii. 3, x. 19, 20, 21, 22, xvi. 14, xvii. 3, 
xxviii. 5. 

(8) final and decisive work : x. 23, xxviii. 22. 

(9) the figure of the scourge: x. 26, xxviii. 15, 18. 

(10) flying sdraph: xiv. 29, xxx. 6 (nowhere else). 

(11) kabbfr (= numerous, mighty, etc.): xvi. 14, xvii. 12, 
xxviii. 2. Only seven times in Job besides. 

(12) tnSbilsdh (= treading down): xviii. 2, 7, xxii. 5 (nowhere 

(13) zdbd' (= to war) : xxix. 7, 8, xxxi. 4 (uncommon). 

(14) zdrem (= streaming rain) : xxviii. 2 bis. xxx. 30, xxxii. 2. 

(15) briers and thorns: v. 6, vii. 23, 24, 25, ix. 18, x. 17. 
Except in xxvii. 4, xxxii. 13, neither word occurs elsewhere. 

(16) miz'dr (= a Httle) : x. 25, xvi. 14, xxix. 17. 

These illustrations must here suffice. After every reason- 
able allowance is made for uncertainty of authorship, possi- 
bility of interpolation, change of subject-matter, and so forth, 
the evidence of style is as conclusive as could be desired, 
and amply confirms the deduction to be drawn from the 
historical setting of the prophecy and its leading concep- 
tions. The whole of the internal evidence points emphatically 
to the conclusion that chh. xl. — Ixvi. are of a much later 
origin than the time of Isaiah. 

It is but fair to notice in conclusion another line of argu- 
ment to which importance has been attached by some 
scholars, viz. the alleged use by certain pre-exilic prophets 
of the last twenty-seven chapters of Isaiah. This is thought 
to be proved by a comparison of parallel passages, of which 
the clearest examples are: Jer. x. i — 16 with ch. xliv. 12 — 
15, etc. ; Jer. XXX. 10 f. (= Jer. xlvi. 27 f.) withch. xliii. i- — 6, 
etc, ; Jer. xxxi. 12 with ch. Iviii. 11 ; Jer. xxxi. 35 with ch. li. 
15; Jer. xxxiii. 3 xlviii. 6; Jer. 1. 2, 8 with xlvi. i, 
xlviii. 20 ; Nah. i. 15 with lii. 7 ; Nah. iii. 4, 5 with xlvii. 3, 9 ; 
Nah. iii. 7 with li. 19 ; Zeph. ii. 15 with xlvii. 8, 10. In some 
of these cases the resemblance is so close as to create an 
irresistible impression of literary dependence, on one side 
or the other. In no instance, however, can it be shewn 
that the priority is on the side of Isa. xl. fi., the supposition 
that an exilic writer borrowed from his predecessors being, 
in itself, just as reasonable as that other prophets borrowed 
from him. In three of the parallels there is a presumption 
that the Isaianic passage is the original; these are Jer. x. 
I — -16, XXX. 10 f., and Nah. i. 15 ; but each of these passages 
is suspected on independent grounds of being an interpola- 
tion in the pre-exilic book where it stands. In the cases 
where dependence is certain or probable, but priority 
doubtful, the arguments advanced above would fully justify 
the assumption that pre-exilic writings were familiar to the 
author of Isaiah xl. ff., and not vice versa. 

We cannot pursue the subject further. The case is well 
summed up in the words of Dr Kirkpatrick : "if the great 
prophecy of Israel's redemption and glorification now in- 
cluded in the Book^of Isaiah had come down to us as an 
independent and anonymous document, no reasonable doubt 
could have been entertained as to the time at which it was 
written. Internal evidence would be regarded as fixing its 
date with remarkable precision towards the close of the 
Babylonian Exile^." The only question, then, is whether 
all this evidence is neutralised by the long unbroken tradi- 
tion which assigns the book to Isaiah. On what is this 

^ Doctrine of the Prophets'^, p. 353. 


tradition bascnl ? If it could be traced back to Isaiah him- 
self, and jirovcd to rest on the lirst-hand knowledge of his 
contemporaries or disciples, it would undoubtedly interpose 
an insurmountable barrier to the acceptance of any critical 
arguments, however acute or forcible they might seem. But 
that is not the case : we have no proof, and no reason to 
surmise, that the tradition rests on anything else than the 
fact that the prophecy stands in the Canon under the name 
of Isaiah. How this came about we shall consider in the last 
chapter of the Introduction (p. Ixviii f.), when we shall sec 
that it is simply the result of a reda,ctional operation which 
need not even imply a belief on the part of the editor that 
the work was really Isaiah's. It is therefore enough for 
the present to say that inasmuch as a chain is no stronger 
than its weakest link, a persistent tradition of 2000 j-ears 
cannot invalidate the critical arguments for the late origin 
of the prophecy 1. 

II. Out of this first stage of the controversy there 
emerged gradually a new problem, that, namely, of the 
unity of the prophecy. It has been mentioned (p. xviii f.) 
that in defence of Isaiah's authorship stress was laid by 
some critics on supposed allusions to pre-exilic conditions. 
It came to be realised that there was a measure of truth in 
this contention ; and various explanations of the phenomena 
were put forward. Some 2 sought to reconcile them with 
the unity of the book by the assumption that the writer made 
use of pre-exilic written material ; others^ became convinced 
that certain portions of the later chapters are Palestinian 
and post-exilic. In 1892 Duhm propounded the bold yet 

* It is scarcely necessary to rebut the objection that the 
traditional view is implied by the language of New Testament 
citation (Matt. iii. 3 and pars., viii. 17, xii. 17; Luke iv. 17; 
John i. 23 ; Acts viii. 28 ; Kom. x. 16, 20). In no single instance 
is it material to the purpose for which the quotation is made 
whether the author be Isaiah or a prophet of the Exile ; and to 
say that an inspired writer might not use the current language 
of his time in referring to a book of Scripture without imperilhng 
the veracity of the Spirit of revelation is to press the doctrine 
of inspiration to a ver)' dangerous and unwarrantable extreme. 

• Ewald, Dillmann, al. 

~ Kuenen, Cheyne, Stade, Comill, Rosters, al. 


iiluminating solution that the whole of the third division 
of the book (chh. Ivi. — Ixvi.) was written about a century 
after the Exile by a prophet whom he named the Trito- 
Isaiah. In the assumption of a single author for all these 
discourses Duhm has not been generally followed ; but in 
distinguishing them sharply from chh. xl. — Iv., in assigning 
them wholly to the post-exilic age, and also (for the most 
part) in bringing down their date to about the middle of the 
fifth century, he has been supported by the great majority of 
subsequent critics. Reserving -some points of detail for the 
following chapter (pp. xliii ff.), we give here the more general 
reasons which have led to the acceptance of this hypothesis. 
The historical allusions in this part of the book point, if 
not unequivocally at least with a high degree of probability, 
to the period suggested, (t) The existence of the Temple is 
presupposed in ch. Ivi. 7, Ix. 7, Ixii. 9, more clearly in Ixv. 11, 
Ixvi. 6. It might be possible to interpret the first three 
references of a Temple yet unbuilt, but this suggestion 
cannot be readily entertained with regard to the tvv'o remain- 
ing cases. If the impression that an actually existing 
Temple is referred to be correct, the date of the passages 
is fixed as later than B.C. 516 (Ezra vi. 15). (2) Ch. Ivi. 8 
implies that a partial gathering of exiled Israelites has taken 
place, and promises that others shall yet be gathered (cf. Ivii. 
19). None of the other allusions to a restoration of exiles 
(Ix. 4, 8, Ixvi. 20) contain anything inconsistent with this ; 
they can all be naturally understood of the Dispersion that 
remained after the first return from Babylon. (3) The 
social conditions dealt with in the prophecy are in accord- 
ance with those which are known to have existed after the 
Exile. Oppression of the poor by the rich or of slaves by 
their masters (Iviii. 3 — 6, 9, lix. 3 f., 13 ff.) is attested by 
Neh. V. and Mai. iii. 5. The description of the leaders of 
the community as worthless, greedy and self-indulgent 
(Ivi. 10 — 12) is illustrated by the conduct of the worldly- 
minded priests who • sought their advantage in family 
alliances with their half-heathen neighbours (Ezra ix. i, 2; 
Neh. xiii. 4, 28), or the hireling prophets who tried to 
undermine the influence of Nehemiah (Neh. vi. 10 — 14). 


(4) There arc traces of that cleavage into two parties — 
one strict, fearing Jehovah and trembUng at His word, the 
other lax an<l indifferent to all religious interests — which 
the book of Malachi pnnx-s to have existed in the first 
century after the Restoration (see ch. Ivii. 1,15, 20, lix. 4 — 8, 
18, Ixv. 8, 13 ff., Ixvi. 5; and comp. Mai. iii. 5, 15 — 18). 

(5) There are repeated allusions in these chapters to a 
section of the population addicted to idolatrous practices 
of a very peculiar kind (Ivii. 3 — 13, Ixv. i — 7, 11 f., Ixvi. 
3 f., 17). It is an attractive suggestion of Duhni's that these 
passages refer to the mixed population (of Israelites, Am- 
monites, Arabians, etc.) which had settled in the land 
during the Exile, particularly the half-caste Samaritans, 
who had at first sought a share in the building of the Temple 
(Ezra iv. i ff.), but afterwards, on being repulsed, did 
their utmost to weaken the hands of the strictly religious 
party in Jerusalem. (6) The prophet complains that the 
promised redemption is delayed, and finds the explanation 
of the delay in the moral condition of the people (ch. lix. 
I — 15). Such a feeling is never expressed in the earlier 
part of the book (with the doubtful exception of ch. xlviii. 
17 — 19) ; and it is impossible to believe that it could have 
arisen in the interval between the appearing of the prophet 
and the close of the Exile. — The inference to be naturally 
drawn from these historical features of the prophecy is con- 
firmed by a certain modification of theological standpoint, 
which reveals at once indebtedness to the great prophet of the 
Exile, and an adaptation of his message to the circumstances 
of a later age (see p. Ixv f.). There are also a few phraseo- 
logical differences^ which, along with a marked inferiority of 

^ The following is a selection from Gressmann (p. 34 f.) of 
characteristic expressions of chh. Ivi. — Ixvi. which do not (with 
two exceptions) occur at all in xl. — Iv. (i) 'dbel (mourn) Ivii. 
18, Ix. 20, Ixi. 2, 3, Ixvi. 10; (2) bdyilh (of the Temple) Ivi. 5, 7, 
bdv. ID, ixvi. I, 20; (3) gd'al (defile) lix. 3, Ixiii. 3; (4) gdmal 
(render: with den\ative^) Ixiii. 7, iix. jc8, Ixvi. 6; (5) ddrash 
(seek: as distinct from bikkesh) Iviii. 2, Ixii. 12, Ixv. I, 10 (also 
in Iv. 6); (6) sjJs, mdsSs (rejoice, joy) 12 times {sdsSn in Ixi. 3, 
but also in li. 3); (7) shercth (serve) Ivi. 6, Ix. 7, 10, Ixi. 6; 
(8) shdniar (of "keeping" commandments, etc.) Ivi. i, 2, 4, 6; 


style and a tendency to literary imitation of earlier writings, 
strengthen the impression that chh. Ivi. — Ixvi. are of later 
authorship than xl.- — Iv. 

The results of our discussion thus far may now be summed 

(i) Isaiah the son of Amoz is not the author of any part 
of chh. xl.- — Ixvi. 

(2) The First division of the book (chh. xl. — xlviii) was 
written towards the close of the Exile by an unknown con- 
temporary prophet, who is generally called "Deutero- 

(3) We have found no reason to question the identical 
authorship of the First and Second (xlix. — Iv.) divisions. 
The affinities are so close that a distinction is improbable ; 
and such differences as exist can be adequately explained by 
a change of the political situation, which v/ill be described 
in the next chapter (p. xl). To Deutero-Isaiah, accord- 
ingly, we assign the whole of chh. xl. — Iv., with the (possible) 
exception of the "Servant-poems" (see pp. 257 — 263), and 
wdth the usual allowance for interpolation. 

(4) The Last division (Ivi. — Ixvi.) we regard as a 
collection of prophetic discourses compiled, and mostly 
composed, in Judea nearly a century after the Exile. We 
may use for this group the title "Trito-Isaiah," without 
committing ourselves to the opinion that the whole was 
written by one individual. 


Date and Place of Composition. — Historical 
Background of the Prophecies. 

We have now seen that the latter part of the book of 
Isaiah contains prophecies extending over a period whose 
limits may be roughly defined as the century between 

(9) ya'an (because) Ixi. i, Ixv. 12, Ixvi. 4; (10) ke'al /according 
to) iix. 18, Ixiii. 7. 


c. 540 ami .\\o M.f.' It is a pcricul whose history has been 

' C .inon Krnnftt. in his Scliwcic h Lectures on The Composition 
of the liooli <:/ Isa iah (i»jio), assifins the wliole of sections B 
(xhx. — Iv.) anil (^(Ivi. — Ixvi.), as well as a large part of A (xl. — 
xlviii.) to tiic sec nd century B.C. If there were any probability of 
this view being right it would have been necessary to extend the 
following historical survey to the time of the Maccabees. But 
Dr Kcnnett's researches are guided l )y a critical canon which, 
to the present writer at least, see ms mislculing and unworkTrtstc. 
I "It is necessary,'" he says (p. 4), "to cmiuTFc with reference to 
\cach section or fragment which literary criticism declares to be 
Yionngeneous, at what period every one of its phrases (elsewhere, 
\cverj' translatable phrase') laould have a clear meanins;" ; and 
n we can find one such period we need go no further; for history 
so seldom repeats itself that if one situation explains all the 
allusions of a passage we may be practically certain that tJiere 
will not be another (p. 5). It is impossible here to examine all 
the implications or detailed applications of this principle as used 
by Dr Kcnnett. But if space allowed, it could be shewn (i) that 
it is only by a considerable exercise of historical imagination 
that Kennett succeeds in explaining many translatable phrases 
in Deutero- and Trito-Isaiah from the circumstances of the Greek 
period. This of course is quite legitimate; only, it is a right 
which must be exercise i impartinlly with regard toc\ery ^iniati m 
which presents a partial correspondence witli the allusions of the 
writings in question For (2), although history never repeats 
itself exactly, it not unfrequently throws up situations so closely 
parallel in their main features, that they would serve equally 
well as the background of a given document. If there are rivers 
in Monmouth there are also rivers in Macedon; and as a matter 
of fact there are remarkable resemblances between the religious 
conditions of the sec nd century and those of the fifth. Hence 
only allusions explicable by the circumstances of the second 
century, but not by those of the fifth, really count as evidence 
in favour of the former date. There are no such allusions. 
(3) Dr Kennett's method of breaking up a passage into minute 
"homogeneous" portions obviously deprives his argument of all 
force except as regards the particular verses to which he can find 
parallels in the second centurj'. It has to be considered, however, 
whether there is not a unity of spirit pervading whole groups of 
discourses which more than outweighs the presumption raised by 
particular coincidences with what is known of the Greek period. 
Thus it may be true that most, if not all, of the idolatrous practices 
denounced in ch. Ixv. are to be found on Greek soil (p. 57) ; but so 
long as they arc not shewn to be peculiar to Greek soil in the second 
century, we must give weight to the fact that the general tone of 
tlu- ( liaptf-r is nrii ilial cf a writer overwhelmed by the novelties 


in some points illuminated by recent discoveries and criti- 
cism ; and a fuller knowledge of the circumstances throws 
valuable light on several features of the prophecies. The 
subject will here be dealt with briefly under three heads. 

I. Israel in Exile. The allusions in chh. xl. — Iv. shew 
clearly that at the time when the first two divisions of the 
book were written the people were in exile, but on the eve 
of deliverance. Jerusalem has undergone a term of hard 
servitude on account of her sins, Ijut it has now expired ; 
her punishment has been more than adequate to her offences 
(xl. 2). Israel is a people robbed and spoiled, snared in 
holes and hid in prison-houses (xlii. 22) ; the captive crouches 
in the dungeon (li. 14) ; the people are repeatedly spoken 
of as prisoners or bound (xlii. 7, xlix. 9). Such expressions 
are no doubt largely metaphorical, but the metaphors can 
denote nothing but a national captivity. The oppressing 
power is Babylon, the imperial city, still called "mistress 
of kingdoms" (xlvii. 5), who has laid her yoke very heavily 
on the aged {v. 6). She has said to Israel, "Bow down that 

of the Hellenising movement, but rather one of despairing protest 
against long-standing and inveterate abuses (see vv. 2 and 7). 
And there are long sections of the book (e.g. xlix. — lii., liv., Iv., 
Iviii., lix.) which Kennett makes no attempt to connect with the 
Greek age, and for v»hich indeed a Maccabean background is 
utterly unsuitable. (4) It is arbitrary criticism to cut out just 
those small sections which are demonstrably older than the sec nd 
century and assume that all that remains is of that date. Thus 
while ch. Ixi. is assigned to these ~ nd century, vv. i — 3 are detached 
from their context, and explained as a soliloquy put into the 
mouth of Cyrus by a contempoi^ry prophet (p. 31), because they 
happen to be quoted by Ben Sira early in the century (p. 40). 
Again, a Maccabean date for ch. Ivii. can only be maintained by 
the excision of one verse (v. 5) whose allusion to child -sacrifice 
is altogether irreconrileable with all we know of religion in Pales- 
tine in that century, and is accordingly pronounced an interpo- 
lation from another, probably much older, prophecy (p. 56). 
(5) The very late date (n.c. 141) assigned to some passages 
(see pp. 69 ff.) conflicts with external evidence as to the canonical 
position of the book and its translation into Greek (see below, 
p. Ixxii n.). We therefore dissent from Dr ICennett's conclusions, 
not because they are "wild" or "sceptical," but simply as un- 
proved and improbable. (His view of the Servant-poems is dealt 
with in another cnnnovion (p. 2j2 I'.).) 


we may go over," and caused her to make her back as the 
ground and as the street to them that go over (H. 23) ; and 
it is from Bahvlon that the exiles are summoned to make 
good their escape (xlviii. 20, cf. Hi. 11 f.). Meanwhile 
Pal stine is a waste and ruined land (xliv. 26, xlix. 8, 19, 
li. 3, Hi. 9, liv. 3) ; Jerusalem is frequently likened to a 
widowed and bereaved mother mourning the loss of her 
children, though now comforted with the promise of their 
restoration (xlix. 14 fT., li. 17 ff., Hi. i f., Hv.). 

In the passages cited above the Captivity is consistently 
represented as a cruel and galling bondage ; and it has been 
thought by some critics that this betrays the writer's 
ignorance of the actual condition of his fellow-countrymen 
in Babylonia, and proves that he must have lived and 
written at a distance from them. The only ground for this 
suspicion is that the lot of the first exiles, carried away in 
597, was if not an enviable at least a tolerable one, as we 
learn from Jer. xxi.x. and many references in the book of 
Ezekiel. But this really affords no precedent for the treat- 
ment likely to have been meted out towards the end of the 
Exile to the victims of the deportation en masse which 
followed the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 586. We 
know very little of the Assyrian or Babylonian policy in 
dealing with captives of war. It appears to have been 
customary in some cases to settle them as tenants on the 
crown-lands, where they were practically on the same 
footing as the corresponding grade of the native population ; 
and this more lenient measure may have been applied to 
the better class Jews who went into exile with Jehoiachin. 
But we also read on the monuments of captives being put 
to forced labour in the construction of temples and other 
public buildings. Both Nebuchadnezzar and Nabonidus 
were great builders ; and therefore there is nothing im- 
probable in the suggestion that large numbers of Jews in 
Babylonia were subjected to this harsh service, in which 
all distinctions of age and rank were ignored (see xlvii. 6), 
or that others languished in slaverj'^ and imprisohment. 
It would be rash, at all events, to dismiss the gloomy picture 
presented in the pages of II Isaiah as the morbid imagination 


of a man unacquainted with the circumstances of those whom 
he addressed^. 

II. The Career of Cyrus. The references to Cyrus are 
confined, as we have seen, to chh. xl. — xlviii. ; but they are 
so definite that we can fix .almost to a year the time to which 
this section of the book belongs. Cyrus is mentioned as 
one already well known as a conqueror, and one whose 
brilliant victoiies have sent a thrill of excitement through 
the world. He is spoken of as having been " raised up from 
the east" (xli. 2, 25; cf. xliv. 11), or "from the north" 
(xli. 25), as one whom "victory attends at every step" (see 
on xli. 2), who "comes upon rulers as upon mortar, and as 
the potter treadeth clay" (xli. 25), who "pursues them and 
passes on in safety," whose movements are so rapid that 
he appears not to "touch the path with his feet" (xli. 2, 3). 
On the other hand, the capture of Babylon is still in the 
future. Cyrus has not yet reached the climax of his success ; 
"the doors of brass and the bolts of iron" have still to be 
broken before him ; " treasures of darkness, the hidden 
riches of secret places" are still to be. given to him (xlv. 2, 3). 
It is he who "shall execute Jehovah's purpose on Babylon" 
(xlviii. 14), who "shall rebuild My city and let My exiles go 
free" (xlv. 13; cf. xliv. 28). The standpoint of the pro- 
phecy, therefore, is between the appearing of Cyrus as a 
conqueror of kingdoms and his victory over the Babylonian 

The chief events in the history of Cyrus are these. In 
558 B.C. he succeeded to the throne of Anzan (a provnnce 
of Elam) as the " little vassal " of Astyages king of the Medes. 
How an Elamite province came to be ruled by a Persian 
dynasty we can only conjecture; but it is quite certain 
from Cyrus's own inscriptions that he and his three pre- 
decessors on the throne of Anzan (Teispes, Cyrus I, and 
Cambyses I) were of pure Persian descent, and Zoroastrians 
in religion. The first great achievement of Cyrus was his 

^ For further information on this subject the reader may be 
referred to a monograph by Klamroth : Die jiidischen Exulanien 
in Babylonien (1912), pp. 30 ff., which gives a useful, though not 
very decisive, summary of the evidence. 


successful revolt against iiis overlord Astyagcs (553 — 550), 
which ended with the defeat and capture of Astyages and 
the sack of the Median capital Ecbatana. The next few 
years were occupied in consolidating his new empire, whose 
boundary extended westward to the border of Lydia in 
Asia Minor. Alarmed by the rise of this rival power, 
Nabonidus of Babylon (king since 556) entered into an 
alliance with Lydia, Egypt and Sparta to preserve the 
balance of power in Asia. Before they could unite their 
forces Cyrus struck with characteristic promptitude and 
energy at Cncsus of Lydia; and after two bloody battles 
the Lydian capital Sardis with its fabulous treasures fell 
into his hands. In the same year (546) he invaded Baby- 
lonian territory ; but here a gap in the Chronicle of Nabo- 
nidus cuts off our only source of information. Where it 
resumes in 339 the armies of Cyrus have penetrated Akkad 
(Northern Babylonia), from whose cities Naljonidus had 
just transported to Babylon the images of the local deities, 
to the indignation of the inhabitants. On the 14th day of 
the month Tammuz (June — July), after a pitched battle 
on the river Nizallat, Sippar opened its gates to the con- 
queror; and on the i6th Gobryas, the general of Cyrus, 
took unopposed possession of Babylon. Four months later 
(3rd of Marcheswan) Cyrus himself made his entry into the 
city, and at once initiated a policy of toleration and clemency 
which completely reconciled the inhabitants, and especially 
the priesthood, to his rule. He reinstated in their ancient 
shrines the images of the gods which had been carried away 
by Nabonidus, and restored the population of many desolate 
cities to their homes. The most surprising fact is that he, 
although a Zoroastrian, allowed himself to be proclaimed 
as a devoted worshipper and favourite of Marduk, Bel, 
and Nebo, the gods of Babylon. The document in which 
he assumes this character was no doubt drawn up by the 
priests of Babylon, whose interest it was to ascribe the 
victories of CyTus to the favour of their own deities, and 
who were besides incensed by the sacrilegious policy of 
Nabonidus. But that Cyrus sanctioned this use of his 
name proves that he was not tlic religious reformer of 


II Isaiah's imagination, who was to abolish idolatry and 
confess the sole deity of Jehovah. After some time spent 
in arranging affairs of administration Cyrus left Babylon, 
handing over (it would seem) the government of the newly 
acquired province to his son Cambyses. 

Date of Composition of chh. xl. — xlviii. It is quite clear 
from these dates that the publication of the first division 
of the book falls certainly between 550 and 539, and almost 
certainly after 546. For it must have been the capture of 
Sardis and destruction of the empire of Croesus that first 
caused the world-wide consternation so graphically described 
in xli. I ff. Is it possible to arrive at a still nearer deter- 
mination ? Sellin has tried to shew that the prophecies 
were issued duinng Cyrus's last campaign against Babylon, 
and actually within a few weeks of the occupation of the 
city. His argument is too precarious to command confi- 
dent assent; but there are some slight indications which 
invest his conclusion with a certain approximate probability. 
The word HNM, "and he has come," in xli. 25, might no 
doubt apply to the first attack of Cyrus in 546, but it becomes 
much more impressive if it means "he has come to stay" : 
i.e. has commenced his final and victorious march to the 
conquest of Babylon. Again, the "new thing" which the 
prophet has to announce, viz; the miraculous exodus of 
Israel from Babylon, is spoken of in xliii. 19 as so imininent 
that even the exiles might perceive it "sprouting": this 
could hardly be said while the issue of Cyrus's enterprise 
was so doubtful as it must have been in 546. Once more, 
it seems probable that in xlvi. i ff. we have an allusion to 
the transportation of the gods ordered by Nabonidus in the 
early part of 539. The evidence does not amount to much; 
but in the absence of anything pointing to an opposite con- 
clusion it may suffice to establish a presumption that some 
at least of these prophecies were uttered in the exciting 
year when the Persian army was advancing, and the Baby- 
lonian Empire was tottering to its fall. 

Place of Composition. That this section was written in 
Babylonia has always been the judgement of the great 
majority of scholars, and tlie probabilities arc overwhelm- 


ingly in favour of this opinion. The writer is at home in 
Babylon. He shews a famiharity with Babylonian idolatry, 
astrology and magic greater tlian tliat of any Old Testament 
writer who had not lived there. Still more significant are 
the immistakeable traces of Babylonian influence on his 
style. WTiile we cannot accept all the inferences that 
Gressmann and Sellin have drawn from his use of the con- 
ventional semi-mythological "court-style" of Babylon, the 
fact that his writing is deeply tinged by it seems clearly 
established ; and this can be said of no other prophet. But 
the fundamental objection to all theories of non-Babylonian 
authorslup is that they sever the close links that evidently 
unite the prophet with his audience. It is impossible to 
think of him as a mere litterateur , composing addresses to 
an imaginar^^ audience which his words were never to reach. 
His communication wath the exiles is not only close but 
continuous: his message is not delivered all at once but in 
instalments, adapted to the fluctuations of hope and fear, 
of enthusiasm and despondency, which agitated the Jewish 
community at that time. A series of anonymous broadsides 
or fly-sheets, issued in rapid succession to be circulated 
among the exiles or read in their synagogues, is perhaps 
the best description that has ever been given of the contents 
of chh. xl. — xlviii. And this implies that the prophet lived 
among them or near them, and was intimately acquainted 
Avith the varied emotions and anticipations which distracted 
their thoughts. Putting these indications together, we 
venture to add the conjecture that he was an educated Jew, 
initiated in the "learning and tongue of the Chaldeans" — 
perhaps a court official like Daniel or Nehemiah — to whom 
the word of the Lord had come wdth a great message of hope 
for his nation ; but who was compelled by his position, and 
by fear of the Babylonian censorship, to adopt the veil of 
anonymity which has left his name a mystery to all suc- 
ceeding ages^. 

^ Thealternativetheoriesof Egyptian (Bunsen,Ewald,Holsclier) 
ftr Phoenician authorship (Duhm) rest on nothing more substantial 
than the reference to Mesopotamia as the "ends of the earth" 
(see on xli. 9), or the writer's interest in the Mediterranea 


Date and Place of chh. xlix. — Iv. It is much more diffi- 
cult to form a distinct idea of the circumstances in which 
the discourses of this section were composed or pubhshed. 
We have seen (p. xii f.) that they are almost certainly the 
work of Devitero-Isaiah ; but there are signs that the situation 
is not in all respects identical with that of chh. xl. — xlviii. 
The sudden cessation of references to Cyrus and the fall of 
Babylon suggests that this part of the prophet's forecast 
had already been fulfilled : an impression which is perhaps 
confirmed by li. 13. On the other hand the actual emanci- 
pation of Israel is still in the future (xlix. 8, 9, li. 14, lii. 11 f., 
Iv. 12). The question therefore arises whether there was a 
sufficient interval of time between the conquest of Babylon 
and the release of the captives to admit of the issue of a new 
series of prophecies, and whether there were other obstacles 
to be overcome besides the coercion of the Babylonian 
government. It is not possible to answer that question 
decidedly ; but several considerations make it probable that 
the Captivity did not (as was formerly supposed) terminate 
immediately and almost automatically with the fall of 
Babylon. The inscription in which Cyrus describes his 
entry into Babylon records the restoration of certain 
peoples to their homes, but it says nothing either of a general 
edict of emancipation or of a special decree in favour of the 
Jewsi. The whole policy of Cyrus — ^his friendly attitude 

coastlands (C'^i^), or perilous identifications of the name 
Sinim in xlix. 12 with Pelusium (Ewald) or a place in Phoenicia 
(Duhm). The idea that the prophecy was written from Jerusalem 
is equally destitute of foundation, and would probably never have 
been put forward but for impressions derived from the later 
sections of the book (see below). Jerusalem is but twice men- 
tioned (in xl. — xlviii.) as the distant ideal centre and goal of the 
writer's hopes for the nation (xl. q, xJi. 27); and allusions to 
Palestinian agriculture or social life are, so far as we can judge, 
conspicuous by their absence. 

^ In line 11 of the inscription (of which a translation is given 
by Whitehouse, Centurv Bible, 11. p. 342 f.) the words occur 
"Marduk... permitted the return of the entirety of all lands"; 
but the connexion is obscure. The sentence seems rather to 
mean that people from all quarters were permitted to return to 
the cities captured by Cyrus in Northern Babylonia. At all 

xl INrkODlCTlOX 

to till- native population, his compact with tiic i)ncsthood. 
and his ostentatious patronage of the nationiil rehgion — 
is consistgnt with the supposition that his arrival wrought 
no immediate cliangc in the status of the Jewish colony. 
It is significant in this connexion that according to Ezra 
vi. I f. the edict for the rebuilding of the Temple was pre- 
served, not in Babylon as liad been expected, but in the 
archives of Ecbatana; the natural inference bemg that it 
was not issued by Cyrus during his residence in Babylon 
but at a later time from the Median capital. It is therefore 
quite credible at least that several months elapsed, and 
many difficulties had to be surmounted, before the case of 
the Jewish exiles obtained a favourable hearing from the 
Persian authorities. And this seems on the whole the 
theory which best accounts for the second collection of 
Deutero-Isaianic prophecies^ It is not improbable that 
the occasion of the short oracle lii. 9 — 11 (cf. "ye that 
bear the vessels of the Lord") was the restoration of the 
Temple vessels, and the departure of the first band of 
returning exiles under Sheshbazzar, as ordered by the 
rescript of Cyrus (Ezra vi. 5, v. 14 f.). If this happened 
some months after the vicfory of Cyrus, the assumption 
that chh. xlix. — Iv. were written in the interval presents 
no difficult^' ; and it enables us to understand the elimina- 
tion of the political element from the prophet's outlook, 
the urgency of his appeal to individual Israelites, and the 
concentration of his thoughts on the future glory of Jeru- 
salem, and other features of the discourses which appear 
to indicate a more advanced situation than we have in 
chh. xl. — xlviii.2 

events in the passage dealing with the restoration of exiled 
populations after the entry into Babylon (11. 31 flf.). only definite 
cities (of Assyria and Babylonia?) are mentioned; and of course 
Jerusalem is not among them. 

• See Selhn, Studiev, i. pp. 172 flf. 

* The view of a good many recent writers, that chh. xlix. — Iv. 
were composed in Jerusalem after the first return from the Exile, 
is of course consistent with the authorship of II Isaiah, since it 
is extremely likely that that prophet would be among the first 
to take advantage of the permission to return, at whatever time 


III. The Restoration. Date of chh.lvi. — Ixvi. The pro- 
])hccies of Deutero-Isaiah had their historic fulfihiient in the 
Return of the' Jews from exile, and the re-institution of the 
worship of Jehovah at Jerusalem. It was a fuHilment shorn 
of the supernatural glories in which his fervid imagination 
had souglit to express the religious significance of the event. 
There was no miraculous highway through the desert, no 
imposing demonstration of Jehovah's might, and no con- 
version of the heathen world to the true religion. A small 
and slowly increasing Jewish community settled in and 
around the ruins of Jerusalem, with its Temple still unbuilt 
and its city unwalled, was all that for many years represented 
to the eye of sense the prophet's glowing visions of latter-day 
glory. It is a remarkable tribute to the power of faith 
which survived in the community that II Isaiah had suc- 
cessors, who preserved his writings and nobly upheld the 
ideals he had revealed; and that once and again these 
ideals laid hold of the mind of the people and inspired thein 
to new efforts to' prepare for the final salvation. The actual 
history of the time is in many points obscure, and the 
attempt to reconstruct it has given rise to critical theories 
which it is quite impossible to discuss here. The following 
sketch embodies conclusions to which the majority of 

it was granted. But the theory fails to do justice to the salient 
features of the prophecies, (i) The references to the deliverance 
as still future cannot all be naturally explained by the fact that 
the restoration was only partial, and that a number of Jews 
were still in exile both in Babylon and in other parts of the world 
(xlix. 12). (2) The ideal pictures of Jerusalem are not such 
as we should expect from a writer in contact with the concrete 
realities of life in a ruined and desolate city: the prophet 
"views the Jerusalem community through a haze" (Box), or 
rather he depicts in imagination a community which has as yet 
no real existence. — The expression "from thence" in lii. 11, which 
appears to imply a residence elsewhere than in Babylon, is a 
difficulty : it may perhaps be explained as an ideal standpoint, 
determined by the summons of the angelic "watchers" {v. 8) 
echoed back from Jerusalem to Babylonia. It would in any 
case be balanced by the "here" of Hi. 5, if the genuineness of 
that passage were beyond suspicion. 


scholars still adhere, and docs not depart \cry widely from 
the traditional view^. 

The edict of emancipation referred to on p. xl was pro- 
mulgated in the first year of Cyrus (b.c. 538). It authorised 
tlie rebuilding of the Temple and the restoration of the 
sacred vessels taken away by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 ; and 
its execution was entrusted to one named Sheshbazzar 
(Ezra vi. i — 5, v. 13 — 16). We may take it as quite certain 
that the decree was carried out, that a company of exiles 
returned with Sheshbazzar, that they set about restoring 
the sanctuary, and that the work was stopped by the 
opposition and intrigues of the Samaritans. After an 
interval of 17 years the building of the Temple was resumed 
in the second j^ear of Darius I {520) under the influence of 

^ The tendency of these speculations has been to undermine 
confidence in the historicity of the Chronicler's representation 
of the course of events contained in the books of Ezra and Nehe- 
miah as arranged and edited by him. The chief questions at 
issue have been these three: (i) Whether the foundation of the 
Temple was really laid in the second year after the Return 
(Ezra iii. 8 ff.), or not till the second year of Darius I (Hag., 
Zech.)— a point first raised by Schrader in 1867. It has little 
importance for our present purpose. (2) Whether there was 
any return at all in the reign of Cyrus. This question was 
elaborately and ably argued to a negative conclusion by the 
Dutch critic Kosters in 1893. His theory has been vigorously 
opposed (among others) by Wellhausen on general historical 
grounds, and by Meyer in a judicious and (it would seem) success- 
ful vindication of the genuineness of the official documents cited 
in the Aramaic source Ezra iv. — vi. For a criticism of 
Kosters the English reader may be referred to Sir G. A. Smith's 
Book of the Twelve Prophets, Vol. 11. pp. 204 ff. (3) Whether 
the mission of Ezra took place in the 7th year of Artaxerxes I 
(458), thus preceding that of Nehemiah (Ezra vii. 7), or during 
the governorship of Nehemiah, or even as late as the reign of 
Artaxerxes II, which commenced in 404. This question also we 
could afford to pass over in silence for all it has to do witli our 
present subject ; but most critics accept the Chronicler's arrange- 
ment, and the evidence that Ezra and Nehemiah were in Jerusa- 
lem together is not easily disposed of. — The statement given 
above proceeds on the beUef that the narrative of the Chronicler 
in the book of Ezra rests on tradition and is in the main reliable, 
although he exaggerates the extent of the first return, and in 
details has fallen into some natural misconceptions. 


the prophets Haggai and Zechariah; and the work was 
carried forward with such zeal that it was finished on the 
3rd day of Adar (March) in 516 (Ezra vi. 15). There was 
at this time a remarkable revival of Messianic expectations 
which centred on the person of Zerubbabel, a prince of the 
Davidic house who held the office of governor under the 
Persian king. How these hopes were blighted we do not 
certainly know. The history of the next 60 years is a 
complete blank; and when the curtain is again raised we 
find a state of religious apathy and social disorder, and a 
readiness to intermingle with the surrounding half-heathen 
population which called forth the sombre prophecy of 
Malachi and the reforming activity of Ezra and Nehemiah. 
If the arrival of Ezra, with the law of his God in his hand 
(vii. 14), be rightly dated in 458, his attempt to introduce 
the law and to deal with the evil of mixed marriages must 
have failed completely. But in 445 Nehemiah came to 
Jerusalem armed with the authority of a Persian governor, 
and bearing a commission to repair the fortifications of 
the city. This task was accomplished within the short 
space of fifty-two days; and then at last the mission of 
Ezra was crowned with success by the solemn league and 
covenant in which the people pledged themselves to the 
observance of the revised code of law which he had brought 
with him from Babylon thirteen years before (Neh. viii.- — x.). 
It remains for us to consider to what part of this very 
obscure century the Trito-Isaianic prophecies belong. 
Duhm, the first scholar to mark them off as a separate 
group, assigned them to a single writer living towards the 
end of the period we have sketched, shortly before the 
canonisation of the Law. The main arguments in support 
-of this view are those staled on p. xxix f . ; and in so far as they 
go to prove a post-exilic origin their cogency is now almost 
universally admitted. But as regards the unity of author- 
ship, and the particular period within the post-exilic age when 
the prophecies were written, Duhm's conclusions have not 
been generallv accepted. Several of those who agree with 
him most nearly take exception to his dating of ch. Ixiii. 7 — 
Ixiv. II at a time wliich makes it necessary to assume an 



unrecorded destruction of the second Temple by the Samari- 
tans in order to account for tlie allusions of the passage 
(see p. 2 19 f.). The most prcibable opinion is that this prayer 
was written before the building of Zerubbabel's Temple in 
520 — 516; and the consequence is that we must either 
abandon the unity of Trito-Isaiah or else bring back the 
whole of these proj^hecies to the period between 537 and 
520. The latter hypothesis has been advocated by Ley 
and Sellin, with the suggestion that the author may have 
been Deutcro-Isaiah himself, who had settled in Jerusalem 
and continued his ministry* of consolation by adapting 
his earlier ideals to the changed circumstances in wliich 
the returned exiles found themselves. This would be 
a welcome simplification of the problem of authorship if 
it could be accepted with due regard to all the facts of the 
case. But it is improbable that the whole of these chapters 
originated at so early a date. The social conditions in- 
dicated in chh. Ivi. — lix., Ixv., Ixvi., and the atmosphere of 
depression and weariness which pervades that section of 
the book, give the impression that a longer experience of 
hard times in Palestine is presupposed than the 17 years 
that followed the first return : the tone resembles the book 
of Malachi rather than ch. Ixiii. 7 ff. Further, the existence 
of the Temple is assumed, as we have seen, in many of the 
prophecies (p. xxix). A crucial test is the explanation of 
Ixvi. I — 5. If this was written before 520, it must be a 
protest against the building of the Temple at Jerusalem, 
and it is so explained not only by Sellin but also by Ley and 
Gressmann. But that any voice should have been raised 
against the execution of the decree of Cyrus in 537 is hard 
to believe, and it is equallj' incredible that in 520 a prophet 
should have been in opposition to'Haggai and Zechariah, 
especially a prophet like Trito-Isaiah who sets the highest 
value on the existence of the sanctuary^. Duhm's explana- 

^ Sellin's answer, that what the prophet vetoes is not the 
building of the Temple in itself but only its erection as a joint 
enterprise of Jews and Samaritans, does not seem to meet the. 
difficulty. There is no hint of such a distinction in the pasFat;e, 
and we have no evidence of any desire of the Samaritans to share 


tion is that the verses are a polemic against the Samaritan 
scheme of building a rival temple to that of Jerusalem ; 
and that is a project which could not have taken shape 
much earlier tlian the time of Nehemiah, if indeed it was riot 
a direct result of the rigorous policy of exclusion which he 
enforced against the Samaritans and their allies among the 
Jews. This theory may not be free from objection, but it 
seems much more tenable than the opinion that the erection 
of the Jewish Temple is deprecated (see pp. 244 ff.). The 
general conclusion to which we are led is that, while many 
of the prophecies in chh. Ivi. — Ixvi. might be assigned to 
almost any part of the first century after the Exile, the 
bulk of them belong to the close of that period ; but that 
the variety of subject-matter and the difference of stand- 
point are so great that they cannot all be referred to the 
same historical situation, or regarded as the work of a 
single author. 


Religious Conceptions of Deutero- [and Trito-] Isaiah. 

The central idea of Deutero-Isaiah's message is the revela- 
tion in history of Jehovah's glory in the redemption of His 
people from exile, and the establishment of His universal 
reign on the earth (xl. 5 ; cf. xlii. 10 ff., xliv. 23, xlix. 26, li. 4, 
lii. 7, etc., etc.). Although his mind moves more in the 
region of theological conceptions than is the case with the 
pre-exilic prophets, he is yet like them before all things a 
prophet; i.e. an interpreter of Jehovah's purpose in the 
great events of his time. He is the first prophet to whom 
the divine purpose wears an immediately gracious aspect 
towards Israel. His forerunners had looked on the world- 
power as the instrument of Jehovah's wrath (Isa. x. 5), 
and had anticipated a happy issue only as an ulterior step 
after judgement had done its purifying work. But to the' 

in the work after their rebuff in 537. The idea that they were 
animated by a persistent wish for a joint sanctuary, along wth 
an equally determined opposition to the restoration of the city 
walls, is an unnatural one, and is unsupported by any proof. 


xlvi IN IIU)l)i;CTION 

writer of tlicse chapters the judgement is virtually past, the 
hostile world-power is as good as crushed already, and the 
final siUvation is nigh, even at the door. Towards this 
inimincnt intervention of God in the world's history all 
the lines of Deutero-Isaiah's thinking converge; and our 
attention must be first directed to the manner in which he 
conceives the redemptive purpose of Jehovah as about to 
be realised. 

I. The Idka ok Salvation. The prophet's notion of 
salvation is a somewhat complex one. It resolves itself first 
of all into two parts : on the one hand an external deliverance 
and exaltation of Israel, followed by the collapse of heathen- 
ism ; and on the other an inward spiritual transformation 
of the national character, fitting Israel for- its high destiny 
as the source of religious light to the world. Each of these 
again is presented in two aspects, according as it is con- 
ceived as the direct act of God, or as effected by intermediate 

I. Th e national res toration and glorjfiratinn, then, is 
the first and fundamental object of anticipation to II Isaiah ; 
and this is clearly represented in the Prologue (xl. i — ii) 
as a miraculous process, culminating in the triumphal march 
of Jehovah through the desert at the head of His ransomed 
people. The significance of the event is universal : " the 
glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see 
it" {v. 5). This conception appears again and again through- 
out the prophecy (see xli. 18 ff., xlii. 15 f., xliii. 19 ff., 
xlviii. 20 f. ; xlix. 10 f., 22, li. 9), which ends as it began 
with the picture of Jehovah's return to Zion (lii. 7 — lo), 
guiding and guarding His redeemed (lii. 12), through a 
wilderness transformed into a garden of the Lord (Iv. 11 f.). 
It is to mistake the prophet's meaning to resolve this lan- 
guage wholly into metaphor. The image of the desert 
highway and the march along it is too persistent a feature 
to be explained as a mere symbol for the removal of material 
or spiritual obstacles to the introduction of the Idngdom 
of God. An element of symbolism is no doubt present, 
and it is always difficult to draw the line between the literal 
and the figurative in the prophets; but that in this case 


the prophet expected the symbol to be materiaUsed may 
be regarded as certain. The important point is that the 
expectation of dehverance by a supernatural operation of 
divine power enters as one element into the prophet's view 
of salvation ; and indeed so far as the historical redemption 
is concerned, it is his most vital and permanent conviction. 
But there is another side of the conception. The eman- 
cipation of Israel and its consequences for humanit)' are 
also conceived as wrought out in the political sphere through 
human agency. In Cyrus Jehovah has raised up the instru- 
ment for the execution of His purpose. The glamour which 
surrounds tliis great hero of antiquity is reflected in the 
pages of II Isaiah. To him Cyrus is no ordinary leader or 
conqueror ; he is invested with characters almost mythical, 
and honoured with titles the most exalted an Israelite 
could employ. He is Jehovah's Friend (Shepherd ? xliv. 
28), nay His Messiah (xlv. i), a name bestowed on no 
other foreign potentate. His career is the mid-current 
of conteniporary history, the point at which Jehovah the 
God of history is most conspicuously at work, and His 
purpose is most clearly discerned. Jehovah has called 
him, roused him up, upholds him by His right hand, leads 
him on from victory to victory, causing all opposition to 
melt away before him (xli. i &., 25 if., xliv. 28 — xlv. 7). He 
is the ravenous bird from the east, swooping down on the 
decaying Babylonian Empire (xlvi. 11); the one whom 
Jehovah loves who shall perform His pleasure on Babylon 
and the seed of the Chaldeans (xlviii. 14). And all this is 
for "Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel my chosen" 
(xlv. 4). This Cyrus, whose achievements have excited 
world-wide interest and consternation, is the destined 
deliverer of Israel. Though now ignorant of the true God, 
he will yet learn from verified predictions that He and no 
other had called him from the beginning and made his way 
prosperous. Acknowledging the God of Israel as the one 
God and Saviour, he will set His people free; and' his 
further conquests, extending to the remotest nations, will 
convince the world that no divine being exists save Jehovah, 
and the heathen will renounce their idolatries and find 


salvation in the knowledge of the one living and true God 
(xlv.). We have scon that this line of thought is confined 
to the first division of the book (xl. — xlviii.), and also that 
the actual results of the victory of Cyrus fell far short of 
the programme sketched in advance by the prophet. His 
ef!ecti\e rule in fact ended with the conquest of Babylon, 
the release of the captives, and the decree lor the rebuilding 
of the Temple (xliv. 28). Accordingly in the second division 
(xlix. — Iv.) the figure of Cyrus disappears entirely from the 
prophet's outlook ; and he falls back on his immoveable faith 
in the "arm of the Lord" (H. 9; cf. Hi. 10, h. 5) as the only 
power that could effect the redemption of Israel, and cause 
the salvation of God to be known to the ends of the earth. 
2. But this is not the whole (as has been suggested by 
some writers) of Deutero-Isaiah's doctrine of salvation. 
The j)olitical restoration of Israel is the manifestation of 
a "new" rel ation be tvyeen the people and Jehovah, which 
implies a renewal of the heart and life of the nation. This 
again is conceived in two ways: partly as the sovereign 
act of divine grace, partly as the work of the Servant of 
Jehovah. The former point of view continues the teaching 
of Jeremiah and Ezekiel ; the latter is peculiar to II Isaiah 
(and indeed to the Servant-passages in the book), and is 
his unique contribution to the theology of the Old Testa- 
ment, (a) As the author of this spiritual redemption 
Jehovah has sought to purify His people by the discipline 
of the Exile (xlviii. 9 — 11 ; cf. xhi. 24 f.) ; He offers to the 
nation and to individuals free forgiveness (xliv. 22, Iv. 6 f.) ; 
calUng them to repentance because His salvation is near 
(xliv. 22, xlvi. 12 f.); He pours out His spirit on them 
(xUv. 3), and creates a people whose children are all taught 
of God (Uv. 13) ; the motive of this divine initiative being 
regard for His own honour and the holiness of His name (lii. 5, 
xliii. 25, xlviii. 9 — 11). To call this view " theocentricl " 
is harmless enough; but to argue that it excludes the 
' aiithropocentric " idea {b) developed in the Servant- 
passages, according to which salvation is mediated by the 

1 Laue. 


work of the Servant of Jehovah, is to use words as counters 
instead of symbols of thought. Not to raise at present the 
question who the Servant is (see pp. hx ff.), lie is certainly 
the bearer of a world-mission to extend the true religion 
to the heathen (xlii. i ff.). It is not a fair rendering of the 
prophet's conception to reduce this function to the mere 
object-lesson given to the world in the marvel of Israel's 
exaltation. The Servant, whoever he may be, is not a 
passive figure in this process, but is the conscious, active, 
indefatigable worker for the conversion of the world (xlix. 
I ff.). But further, it seems clear that the Servant has a 
work to do for Israel as well as for mankind. His vocation 
is to" restore Israel to Jehovah (xlix. 5, 6), to open blind 
eyes and bring prisoners out of the prison-house (xlii. 7), 
to witness to the truth amidst obloquy and persecution 
(1. 4 ff.), and by his vicarious suffering and death to make 
atonement for the sin of his people and bring them to 
repentance (liii.). What kind of activity is here indicated 
is the enigma of the book: it depends on the idea of the 
Servant himself — whether he be an individual man, or the 
people of Israel, or a section of the people, or the future 
Messiah. These questions we must reserve for fuller 
consideration; but meanwhile we may so far anticipate 
as to hold that the work of the Servant is included in the 
prophet's scheme of redemption. The excis ion of the 
Servant-poems from the book (see p. 258 f.) would create 
a strange anomaly in the prophetic literature ; for there is 
surely no other instance in which a writer of the highest 
originality is indebted to an interpolator for the most 
profound conception in the discourses attributed to him. 
Many things are possible in the domain of criticism, but a 
theory which involves this consequence is to be suspected 
of some narrowness or error. 

This many-sided idea of salvation, then, is the germ of 
the prophet's hope for the future, and the basis of his mes- 
sage of consolation. But his fellow-exiles were not in a 
mood to be easily cheered. References to their state of 
mind are frequent, but nowhere do we find any indica- 
tion of an enthusiastic response to the prophet's joyful 

I IN ll^ODl C'lION 

proclamation. When Jehovah came there was no man, when 
He called there was none to answer (ch. I. 2). Among them 
were some wlio rejected the message and took exception 
in particular to the designation of Cyrus as the chosen 
instrument of Israel's release (xlv. 9 — 13). But the pre- 
valent mood was one of utter weariness and despondency. 
Israel said, "My way is hid from Jehovah, and my right 
pas.scs from my God" (xl. 27; xlix. 14). Dismayed by the 
might of Babylon, and fearing continually because of the 
oppre.ssor (li. 13), confronted on every hand by the monu- 
ments of a vast system of idolatry, the exiles had given way 
to gloomy thouglits and doubts of the power or willingness 
of Jehovah to redeem. To counteract this despairing mood 
something more was needed than a bare announcement of 
deliverance. The first requisite was to revive their conscious- 
ness of God, to impress them with a sense of His infinite 
power and resources, and the immutability of His word; 
and to this task the writer addresses himself with all the 
impassioned and persuasive eloquence of which he is an 
unri\'alled master. 

II. Jehovah.theGod OF Israel. The prophet's doctrine 
of God is, accordingly, the fundamental element of his 
teaCTiing. The book, it has been well said, "is a structure 
based upon and built out of .the Monotheistic conception, 
the idea that Jehovah, God of Israel, is the true and only 
Godi." The author does not differ from earlier prophets 
in being a monotheist, but he differs remarkably in this 
that he inculcates the principle almost as an abstract truth 
of rehgion, and strives to bring it home to the reason and 
imagination of* his readers. It is perhaps not strictly 
accurate to say that he sets himself to prove any positive 
truth about Jehovah, although some passages read to us 
like demonstrations. The existence of Jehovah is assumed, 
as are also the facts that He is the Creator of the universe 
and the Disposer of the events of history; and what is 
built on these assumptions is an attempt to elevate and 
purify the conceptions of the Israelites and convey to them 

* A. B. Davidson, Expositor, Aug. 1883, p. 85. 


some worthy idea of M^iat deity involves. If anything 
is made a matter of demonstration, it is the negative con- 
clusion that the idols are not gods, that their helplessness 
in the face of the facts of history shews them to lack the 
attributes of deity, that in short, as there is room for only 
one God, the God of Israel has alone made good His right 
to be so regarded. 

The prophet's conceptions of what God is in Himself are 
most fully set forth in the meditation which immediately 
folIows_the. Prologue (ch. xl. 12 — 26). The chief thought 
is contained in the repeated question, "To whom will ye 
liken God?" {vv. 18, 25). It is the incomparableness of 
Jehovah which the writer seeks to expound and illustrate. 
This is enforced first of all by an appeal to the works of 
creation. What sort of Being must He be who "measured 
the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven 
with- the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in 
a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the 
hills in a balance"? {v. 12). "Lift up your eyes on high 
and see ! Who hath created tt^ese [the starry host] ? bring- 
ing out their host by number, calling them all by name ; 
because of Him who is great in might and strong in power 
not one is missing" {v. 26). In comparison with such a 
Being, how insigrjificant and inappreciable is every form of 
finite existence! He "sitteth over the circle of the earth 
and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers" {v. 22); 
" the nations are as a drop from the bucket, and are counted 
as the small dust of the balance" {v. 15). His purposes in 
history cannot be thwarted by any political combinations, 
however powerful; for He "bringeth princes to nothing, 
and maketh the judges of the earth as vanifty ; hardly have 
they been planted; hardly have they been sown;... when 
He bloweth upon them and they wither, and the whirlwind 
taketh them away as stubble" {vv. 23 f.). And if men, 
singly and collectively, are thus helpless before Him, what 
.shall be thought of those so-called gods which are the work 
of men's hands ? The idol is sufficiently discredited by a 
description of the process of its manufacture {vv. 18 — 20) ; 
it is not merely a "nonentity" (as Isaiah called it), it 

lii li\TKUJ)l C'llON 

is a rrdurlio ad ahsurdum of tlic very conception of 

Thouglits similar to these run through the prophecy, 
especially the first nine chapters. The question, "To whom 
will yc liken me?" recurs in xlvi. 5; Jehovah's creative 
activity is touched upon in xlii. 5, xlv. 7, 12, 18, xlviii. 7, 
liv. 16, [Ixv. 17 f.]. etc. The argument against idolatry is 
developed in a series of passages (xli. 7, xliv. 9 — 20, xlvi. 
6f., comp. xli. 23 ff., xlii. 17, xlv. 16, 20, xlvi. i f., xlviii. 5) 
which arrest attention by their scathing irony and scorn. 
Idolatry is as it were laughed out of court, treated as an 
effete dehisiQil..\ylaich the world ought iong^to have out- 
giTwn. The consciousness of unique Godhead Vattributed 
to Jehovah in such utterances as, "Before me there was no 
God formed, neither shall there be after me" (xliii. 10), or 
" I am God, and there is none else " (xlvi. 9 ; cf. xliv. 8, xlv. 6, 
•14, 18, 21 f.). The same truth js expressed when He is 
called Kddosh (Holy) absolutely, almost as' a proper name 
(xl. 25); meaning that He alone possesses the attributes 
that constitute divinity'. He is the "First and the Last" 
(xli. 4, xliv. 6, xlviii. 12), unchanging through all ages, an 
"Everlasting God," inexhaustible in power and wisdom 
(xl. 28). 

But though Jehovah is thus transcendently exalted. His 
relation to the world... and.. jue][V upon it is not one of 
negation or indifference. He did not create the earth for 
a waste, biitjto be. inhabited (xlv. 18); He is present in all 
ages of history, calling the generations from the beginning 
(xli. 4), and moulding their destinies in accordance with His 
world-wide purpose of salvation. In pursuance of His far- 
reaching and unsearchable designs He has raised up Israel, 
calling it from the ends of the earth (xli. 9) to be the organ 
of His revelation, and now He has raised up the Persian 
king Cyrus to be the instrument of His final victory over 
heathenism. In connexion with this unceasing activity of 
Jehovah in the affairs of men, great stress is laid upon His 
knowledge of the future and His habit of predicting it. The 

1 See Vol. I. pp. xlix ff. 


heathen gods are repeatedly challenged to prove their claim 
to deity by instances of unambiguous predictions subse- 
quently verified (xli. 22 f., xliii. 9, xliv. 7) ; while Israel, on 
the other hand, is appealed to as a witness that Jehovah 
has foreseen and foretold the future (xliii. 10, xliv. 8). This 
peculiar test of divinity might appear to be a concession to 
the mode of thought of the heathen, whose religion con- 
sisted in great part in the search for divine prognostications 
of coming events. But it has also a positive value for the 
prophet's own mind, as evidence that events are prearranged 
by Jehovah in accordance with a fixed and intelligible plan 
whose goal is the redemption of Israel and the manifestation 
of the divine glory to all mankind. 

Of the moral (as distinguished from the metaphysical) 
attributes of God, the most important is His ji^hteousnes s. 
The- prophet's use of this word is somewhat difficult, and 
it appears to denote more than one aspect of the divine 
character. It is plain enough that what is called retributive 
righteousness, or dealing with men according to their strict 
deserts, is far too narrow an idea to explain its most striking 
applications. Righ teousness is the quality displayed in {aj 
the_raising_up of Cyrus (xlv. 13), in the sustaining of Israel, 
which is asciibed to Jehovah's " right hand of righteousness " 
(xli. 10), and in the calling of the ideal Servant of the Lord 
(xlii. 6). But further it is exhibited in Jeh ovah's manner t^ 
of revealing Himself; Th- is One who "speaks righteous- 
nesT" (xlv. 19) ; One who in contrast with the false gods is 
approved as righteous by the verification of His prophecies 
(xli. 26) ; a word goes forth from His mouth in righteousness 
and shall not return (xlv. 23). The general idea suggested 
by these various usages is perhaps trustworthiness inwxird 
and_deed, and particularly in the, p£rfect., -Correspondence 
between word and deed. This implies that Jehovah's 
actions are all regulated by a consistent and firmly main- 
tained principle, so that when He speaks He but reveals 
the inner principle which is the true motive of His action ; 
and when he is said to uphold Israel or to raise up Cyrus 
"in righteousness" the meaning is that He does so in pur- 
suance of a stedfast purpose which He may be relied on to 


cany through. And since His purpose is ultimately a 
purpose of salvation, we. can understand how so frequently 
in the prophecy the id ea, of righteousness tends to become 
merged in that of salvation.' itrrrould, of course, be a paradox 
to speak of salvation as a divine aUribufe, although the 
paradox would \ery nearly represent an important element 
in the prophet's idea of God. The power and readiness to 
sa\e men is a standing characteristic of Jehovah, which can 
be predicated of no other god ; He is a " righteous and saving 
God" (xlv. 2i); besides Him there is no Saviour (xliii. ii; 
cf. xlv. 15, 21; xlix. 26). But, speaking strictly, salvation 
is the outward act which gives effect to Jehovah's purpose ; 
and so we find several passages' wHefe rigHteousness itself 
ceases to be an attribute and becomes a name for the 
external manifestation in which the attribute embodies 
itself (xlvi. 13, li. 6, 8, [Ivi. i b]). The same truth is expressed 
in the frequent application to Jehovah of the verb " redeem " 
or_tliC-£pitlLet " Jie_de£mer" (xli. 14, xliii. i, xliv. 6, 22 f., 24, 
etc.; see p. 23). "Salvation," however, is a term of wider 
import than "redemption." The latter expresses' what 
Jehovah does for His own people of Israel ; but the former, 
although used in the first instance of the deliverance of 
Israel from Babylon, is a spiritual blessing in which all 
mankind have an interest. " Israel is saved in Jehovah 
with an everlasting salvation" (xlv. 17); and the heathen, 
recognising this, are invited to avail 'themselves of the same 
privilege : " Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of 
the earth, for I am God, and there is none else" (v. 22). 

These are perhaps the most characteristic features in the 
idea of God as presented in these chapters. It is after all 
an imperfect statement of the prophet's conception of God, 
which is indeed so rich and full as almost to baffle analysis. 
"It would be easy to find in the prophet proof-texts for 
everj'thing which_J:heology_assertsjregarchng_Gpd.^.w^^^^^ the 
excepfibrTperhaps of the assertion that He is a spirit, by 
which is meant that He is a particular land of substance. 
Neither the prophet nor the Old Testament knows anything 
of a Divine e.s.^ence. It does not say that God is spirit, 
but that He has a spirit; and by spirit is not meant a sub- 


stanc e, but an efficien cy. The spirit of God is God operating 
ni any way according to tire ineffable powers which He 
possesses as a moral person^." 

It may be remarked in contrast to what was said of Isaiah 
in Vol. I. p. liv, that the d ivine ten dgrness receives full and 
emphatic expression, as to be expected from the charac- 
ter of this prophecy. ■" In an outburst of wrath I hid my 
face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness 
will I have mercy upon thee " (liv. 8). Jehovah is compared 
to a shepherd, gathering the lambs in His arms and carrying 
them in his bosom, and gently leading those that give suck 
(xl. ii) ; and the pathos of this image is even exceeded by 
one of the latest in the book (Trito-Isaiah) : " as a man whom 
his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you" (Ixvi. 13). 
These expressions shew that with all the prophet's insistence 
on the transcendent perfection of Jehovah, there is no diminu- 
tion of the vivid sense of His personal being. These chapters 
contain anthropomorphisms as bold and striking as any to 
be found in the Old Testament. Jehovah is described as 
a man of war eager for the fray, as crying like a travailing 
woman, as gasping and panting with suppressed fury 
(xlii. 13 f.). In Trito-Isaiah He arms Himself for conflict 
with His enemies, putting on righteousness as a breastplate, 
clothing Himself with zeal as a cloke, etc. (hx. 16 — 18). 
In Ixiii. I — 6 He is represented coming up from a great 
slaughter of His foes, striding in the greatness of His might, 
and speaking of the day of vengeance that was in His heart. 
Such delineations are no doubt iniaginative, but the images 
express a truth, and belong as much to the prophet's con- 
ception of God as the morfe abstract and lofty ideas which 
stand side by side with them in the book. 

III. Israel, the Servant of Jehovah. Remarkable as 
is the prophet's contribution to the biblical doctrine of God, 
it is surpassed in importance and originality by his teaching 
with regard to the mission of Israel. The very grandeur 
and universality of bis conception of Jehovah appears to 
necessitate a profounder' interpretation of Israel's place in 

^ A. B. Davidson, Expositor, Oct. 1884, p. 253. 


history than any previous prophet had cxpUcitly taught. 
It might readily appear that a Being so exalted and glorious 
as Jehovah is here represented to be could not enter into 
special relations with any particular people of the earth, 
and that Israel could be no more to Ilim than the children 
of the Ethiopians (Am. ix. 7). This inference, which for a 
special purpose the prophet Amos seemed almost ready to 
draw, would obviously be fatal to the religion of revelation. 
It is little to say that this prophet does not accept the con- 
clusion suggested ; he repudiates it in the most direct and 
emphatic manner, declaring that since Israel was precious in 
His sight, Jehovah gives Egypt as its ransom, Ethiopia and 
Seba in its stead (xliii. 3). And whether he was conscious 
of the problem latent in his conceptions or not, it is certain 
he has provided a solution of it, which lies in the thought that 
Israel is elect for the sake of mankind. Jehovah, as we have 
already seen, cherishes a purpose of grace towards the whole 
human race (xlv. 18 ff.), and the meaning of His choice of 
Israel is that He uses it as His instrument in the execution of 
that world-wide purpose of salvation. 

This view of Israel's position amongst the nations is ex- 
pressed in the title "Servant of Jehovah," which is applied 
to the people in passages too numerous to quote, but only 
in the first nine chapters (xh. 8, xlii. 19 ff., xhii. 10, 12, 
xliv. I f., 21, xlv. 4, xlviii. 20). In these places there is no 
room for doubt as to the subject which the writer has in 
his mind. It is the historic nation of Israel, represented in 
the present chiefly by the community of the exiles, but 
conceived throughout as a moral individual whose life and 
consciousness are those of the nation. The personification 
is at times extremely bold ; as when Israel is said to have 
been formed " from the womb" (xliv. i f.), or when Jehovah 
speaks of it as having been "borne from the womb," and 
promises to carry it "even unto old age and hoar hairs" 
(xlvi. 3, 4) ; at other times the collective nature of the con- 
ception is suffered to appear (xliii. 12, etc.). Still no one 
who reads the passages can suppose for a moment that 
anything else than the actual people of Israel is intended. 
The writer of these chapters is probably the first who employs 


the name "servant" in this national sense, although it may 
have been suggested by Ezek. xxviii. 25, xxxvii. 25, where 
Jehovah speaks of "the land that I have given to Jacob my 
servant^." In itself the designation might mean much or 
little. As expressing the relation between the people and 
its national deity, it might mean simply "worshipper" 
(see Josh. xxiv. 29; Neh. i. 10; Job i. 8; Dan. vi. 20 and 
often) ; and this is certainly included ; Israel is the Servant 
of Jehovah as His vv^orshipper. His client, through whom 
His name is perpetuated among men. But as certainly 
the prophet's idea goes_beyond this. Comparing the 
different^connexions in which the name occurs, we find 
the thoughts associated with it to be these two : first, that 
Israel has been adopted by Jehovah of His free grace and 
brought into a peculiar relation to Himself. The words 
used are many: "called," "chosen," "created," "formed," 
"made"; but all these refer to one fact, the formation of 
the people at the time of the Exodus from Egypt or (it may 
be) the call of Abraham from Chaldea. The second thought 
is that of a mission entrusted to the nation of Israel by 
Jehovah. This is naturally suggested by the word 
"servant"; and it is made still clearer by ,ch. xlii. 19: 
"Who is blind but my servant? or deaf as fnyjM&S£nger 
that I send ? " and other passages. In so far as the historic 
Israel is concerned, this mission is fulfilled more by experi- 
ences in which it is passive than by its voluntary activity. 
It has proved itself "blind" and "deaf"; i.e. spiritually 
unfit for its high vocation (xlii. 19, 20, xliii. 8). Yet as the 
prophetic nation it has already served an important purpose ; 
it is Jehovah's witness to the truth of His prophecy, and 
through this to the reahty of His divinity (xliii. 10, 12, xliv. 
8) . And this function shall be still more fully realised when 
the great deliverance through Cj'rus has taken place, and 
the nations of the world shall behold this crowning demon- 
stration of Jehovah's Godhead, and turn to Israel with the 

^ Here the reference seems to be to Jacob the individual, as 
ancestor of the nation. Jer. xxx. 10 (not in LXX.) and xlvi. 27 f. 
are of later date, and evidently borrowed from our prophet; 
so Ps. cxxxvi. 32; I Chr. xvi. 13. 


confession, "Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, 
there is no dod" (xlv. i^ tf.)^. In that day Israel shall not 
bo \viu)lly a passive instrument of Jehovah's great purpose; 
k)r " J will pour my spirit upon tliy seed and my blessing 
upon thine offspring.... One (i.e. from among the heathen) 
shall say, I am Jehovah's, and another shall call himself by 
the name of Jacob; and another shall inscribe on his hand 
'To Jehovah,' and be titled by the name of Israel" (xliv. 


But there is another class of passages where this applica- 
tion of the title "Servant of Jehovah" to the actual Israel 
does not suffice (xlii. i — 4, xlix. i — 6, 1. 4 — 9, lii. 13 — liii. 12). 
We must not overlook the close resemblance between these 
passages and those spoken of in the last paragraph. The 
formal idea expressed by the term "servant" is precisely 
the same in the two cases. New features are added to the 
description wliich are inapplicable to the nation as a whole, 
but the conception of the office of the ideal Servant does 
not go beyond the t\vo elements of an election by Jehovah, 
and a commission to be discharged in His service. What 
makes it impossible in the last group of passages to suppose 
that the Servant means Israel simply, is not so much the 
intense personification of the ideal (although that is very 
remarkable, and weighs with many minds) ; it is rather the 
character attributed to the Servant and the fact that he is 
distinguished from Israel by having a work to do on behalf 
of the nation. There are passages which, as usually trans- 
lated, appear to speak of him as the agent in Jehovah's 
hand of effecting the release of Israel and of restoring it to 
its own land (xlii. 7, xlix. 8, 9). No doubt, these passages 
are susceptible of a different interpretation, which makes 
Jehovah Himself the immediate author of the deliverance, 
and allows the identification of the Servant with the nation 
35 a whole (see the Notes). There are others, however, 
where a distinction seems inevitable. The Servant is one 
who endures persecution and opposition from his own 
countrymen (1. 6 — 9), and dies the death of a martyr at 

^ See, however, the note on the v., p. 71. 


their hands (Hii. i — 9). His sufferings and death constitute 
an atonement for the sins of his people, so that Avith his 
stripes they are healed (liii. 4 — 6, 8). He is one also who 
is in conscious and perfect sympathy with Jehovah's purpose 
in raising him up; he is neither blind nor deaf, but alert 
and sensitive and responsive to the divine voice (1. 4, 5). 
So conscious is he of his mission and so eager to succeed in it, 
that he speaks of himself as depressed and discouraged by 
its apparent failure so long as it was limited to the conver- 
sion and instruction of his own people (xlix. 4), and corre- 
spondingly cheered when it is revealed to him that his work 
has a larger scope, even the gathering of the whole race into 
the fold of the true religion (xlix. 5, 6). To this wider 
outlook there is attached the assurance of a signal success 
(xlii. 1,4), which shall excite the astonishment of the nations 
and potentates of the world (xlix. 7, lii. 13 — 15, liii. 10 — 12). 

The .question, who is meant by the Servant of Jehovah 
in these delineations, is the most difficult problem in the 
exposition of these chapters. Of the numerous solutions 
that have been propounded (see Appendix, Note II) we here 
select the two which have been most influential in the 
history of interpretation, and which illustrate the opposite 
aspects of the conception. 

I. A large number of expositors hold that the term 
"Servant of Jehovah" always, in some sense, denotes 
Israel. They regard it as inconceivable that the prophet 
should apply the same title to two distinct subjects without 
so much as a hint that there is a double application in his 
mind. It is all the more difficult to suppose that this should 
be the case, because the predicates associated with the title 
are essentially identical in all its uses. The Servant is 
throughout one called and upheld by Jehovah, and destined 
to be the organ through whom He carries out His purpose 
of establishing His universal kingdom. It is true that the 
subject of the personification cannot in every case be the 
actual Israel, or the nation en masse, for it has been shewn 
that the characteristics of the Servant are in some instances 
the opposite of those displayed by the bulk ^f the people. 
Btit if the Servant cannot in such passages be the literal 


ix IN rKonrcTioN 

historic nation, he may JstiU be Isiad according to its true 
vocation and destiny, tlic ideal Israel which has existed in 
the mind of God from the beginning, and which would yet 
emerge on the stage of history in the nation purified and 
redeemed from the sorrows of the Exile. It is urged against 
this theory that the Servant is represented as one who has 
an experience and a history behind him (xlix. 4 ff., 1. 6, 
liii. I — 9) ; and to many it appears a contradiction that an 
ideal sliould have a history of the kind depicted. A still 
more serious difficulty is thought to lie in the fact that the 
Servant labours and suffers for the good of Israel, and in 
particular is the agent of its deliveiance from captivity. 
These objections are forcible, but they are partly met by 
the consideration that the ideal has been approximately 
realised in a section of the people who had worked for the 
conversion of their nation, and on whose minds there had 
dawned the more glorious hope of being a light -to the 
Gentiles. The conception is not free from difficulty, but 
there is nothing unnatural in tlie supposition that the 
experiences of this godly kernel of Israel should be ascribed 
to the ideal which is partly manifest in them, or that this 
ideal when personified should be called by the name of 
Israel. And the fact that he is the agent of the people's 
redemption may be explained in a similar way : the ideal 
stands for the destiny of the nation, and since it is for the 
sake of the ideal embodied in the Servant that Jehovah 
in His providence brings to pass the redemption of Israel, 
the whole process of deliverance might, in the personifica- 
tion, be ascribed to the Servant. 

2. Other writers, however, think that the Servant of 
Jehovah must in some cases be an individual yet to arise, 
who shall embody in himself all the characteristics that 
belong to the divine idea of Israel. It is a question of 
inferior importance whether the figure be a modification 
of the conception of the Messianic King, or an independent 
creation, which was only shewn by the fulfilment to be 
identical with the Messiah of other prophets. Now such 
a conception's in itself perfectly intelligible and natural. 
We might suppose, for example, that the author took up 


the expression, "Servant of Jehovah," and under the guid- 
ance of the Spirit of God threw out a portrait of what the 
ideal Servant of the Lord must be, and that there was 
imparted to him the conviction that an individual answering 
to this portrait would appear in the immediate future. But 
in the connexion in which the idea occurs in this prophecy, 
the explanation is encumbered by certain difficulties. 
Besides the exegetical difficulty arising from the application 
of the same title to subjects entirely different, there is this 
further objection that the course of events as conceived by 
the prophet does not appear to afford space for the evolution 
which it is necessary to suppose. The Servant on the 
hypothesis has yet to appear, has to be misjudged, rejected, 
maltreated and put to death by his countrymen ; then the 
thoughts of his generation concerning him have to undergo 
a revolution (ch. liii. g) ; and only after all this has taken 
place can the people look for his resurrection and the deliver- 
ance from exile which he is to effect. The process described 
obviously demands time, and we cannot help asking whether 
it is credible that this should be the meaning of the prophet 
who penned the hasty summons to escape from Babylon 
(xlviii. 20, lii. 11, 12), and gives many another indication 
that he regards the deliverance as imminent. If, on the 
other hand, the Servant be a personification of Israel, the 
greater part of the process hes already behind the prophet. 
The popular misapprehension of the Servant's mission, his 
persecution, his martyrdom, have been accomplished in the 
persons of those Israelites in whom the ideal of Israel was 
partly exhibited ; the revulsion of feeling, so profoundly 
conceived and described in ch. liii., is a process which the 
prophet sees taking place around him ; and all that remains 
for the future is the Servant's rising from the dead, which is, 
on this theory, but a figure for the national restoration. 

Each hypothesis, therefore, has its advantages and its 
difficulties, and it is not surprising that theologians have 
sought in many directions for an escape from the dilemma 
in which we seem to be placed. We will not pursue the 
subject further here (see Appendix), but will conclude with 
two observations. First, it requires to be insisted on in 

Ixii IN IKODl't'lTON 

the interest ol fair historical interpretation that the crisis 
of the Servant's career is somehow bound up with the 
fortunes of Israel in the age of the Exile. Whether he be 
Israel or another his mission is one to be achieved in con- 
nexion with the coming disclosure of Jehovah's glory and 
(iodhead in the restoration of Israel as an imposing people 
before the world's eyes. If he be the Messiah his advent 
was expected by the prophet in that age of history, and 
he comes into contact with the Gentiles through the restored 
Israel, which is the centre of the universal kingdom of God. 
To some extent, therefore, the two views of the Servant — 
the national and the individual — tend to coalesce in the 
fulfilment contemplated by the prophet^. Second , the 
va l_ue pj .the conceptionas a jprqphetic delineation of the 
character and work of our Lord is in no way affected by the 
view we may be led to adopt regarding its inception in the 
mind of the prophet. All Christian interpreters agree that 
the ideal has been fulfilled but once in historj'-, in the person 
of Jesus Christ, in whom all the features of the divine ideal 
impressed on Israel have received adequate and final expres- 
sion. Perhaps we ma}' go further and say that to us it is 
clear that the ideal could only be realised in a personal life 
at once human and divine; only, we have no right to say 
that this must have been equally evident to the prophet in 
his day. The significance of his teaching does not lie in 
any direct statement that in some future age an individual 
should arise bearing this image, — a statement which he 
never makes — ; it consists in the marvellous degree in which 
he has been enabled to foreshadow the essential truths 
concerning the life and mission of the Redeemer. This is 
a fact which nothing can obscure, and which is attested for 
us, if it needed attestation, by the application of these 
passages to Christ in the New Testament. But just as it 
is certain that the prophecy was not fulfilled in the way that 
the writer expected (viz. as an element of Israel's restora- 
tion from Babylon), so it is a legitimate question for his- 
torical exegesis what kind of basis the ideal had in his 

1 See Davidson, Exp., Feb. 1884, p. 91. 


thoughts, — " a real or an ideal man, a man of flesh and blood, 
who, as he foresaw, would appear in the world, or an ideal 
man, in one sense the creation of his mind, though in another 
sense existing from the moment of Israel's call and creation, 
all down its history, and to exist for ever^." 

IV. Israel and the Gentiles. The state of things 
which follows the redemption of Israel is an age of universal 
salvation in which all nations share in the blessings that 
flow from a knowledge of the true God. That Israel 
is to enjoy a religious primacy among the peoples of the 
world might be assumed from the general position of the 
Old Testament on this subject. The manner in which the 
world is to be converted to the religion of Israel and of 
Jehovah is variously represented, (a) In the first place, it 
is the direct result of the victories of Cyrus, the "Anointed" 
of Jehovah. For this purpose Jehovah has raised him up, 
"that men may know from the rising of the sun and from 
the west, that there is none beside me" (xlv. 6). The 
effect on the heathen nations is described in vv. 14 — 17 of 
the same chapter ; and it is noteworthy that it is not merely 
a negative effect, leading them to repudiate their false gods, 
but involves some positive revelation of the character of the 
God of Israel : " Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, 
O Saviour-God of Israel" {vv. 14, 15). Of the same nature 
are passages where the forthputting of Jehovah's might is 
spoken of as the means of convincing men of His Godhead : 
"mine arms shall judge the peoples; the isles shall wait 
for me, and on mine arm shall they trust" (li. 5; cf. lii. 10, 
[Ixvi. 19, etc.]. (b) In the secondplacCj^jthe conversion of 
the heathen is the work of Jehovah's ideal Servant, and is 
accomplished partly by his doctrine ("the isles wait for his 
teaching," xlii. 4) and the prophetic word wliich is placed 
in his mouth (xlix. 2), partly by the spectacle of his startling 
elevation from extreme abasement to the highest influence 
and glory (hi. 13 — 15). He is thus set for a "light to the 
Gentiles," to be God's salvation to the ends of the earth 
(xlix. 6) ; he "shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have 

^ A. B. Davidson, Exp., Dec. 1884, p. 450. 


set judgement (i.e. tnic religion) in the earth " (xlii. /j). The 
attitude towards the Gentiles expressed in these "Servant- 
passages" is singularly sympathetic and even appreciative. 
They are likened to "crushed reeds" and "smoking wicks" 
(xlii. 3) ; that is, they are conceived as possessing some 
natural \irtuc, which is ready to expire for lack of a true 
faith, but which the Servant's tender and helpful ministry 
will strengthen and fan into a glowing flame, {c) In the 
later chapters of the prophecy (Trito -Isaiah) the concep- 
tion of the future kingdom of God becomes less ideal arid 
more material than in Deutero-Isaiah. The conversion of 
the heathen is ascribed to the impression made by the 
unimagined splendour of the new Jerusalem, which is the 
one centre of light in a benighted world. "For, behold, 
darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the 
peoples; but upon thee shall Jehovah arise and his glory / 
shall be seen upon thee. And nations shall come to th}/ 
light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising" (Ix. 2, 3)4 
The blessedness of Israel contains moral and spiritual 
elements (Ix. 21, Ixi. 3, 11, Ixii. 2, Ixv. 24, Ixvi. 10 — 13, etc.) ; 
but great stress is laid on its external magnificence and 
prosperity; on the architectural beauties of Jerusalem (liv. 
II f., Ix. 13, 17), on its wealth (Ix. 5 — 7, g, 13, 16, Ixi. 6, 
Ixvi. 12) and security in the enjoyment of temporal blessings 
(Ivii. 13, Ixii. 8 f., Ixv. 9 f., 21 ff.), and its abundant popula- 
tion (xlix. 17 ff., liv. I ff., Ixvi. 7 ff.). So the relation of 
the Gentiles to the true God is represented as one ^f sub- 
servience to Israel, the people of God (Ix. 14; cf. xlix. 23) : 
they shall place their wealth at the disposal of Israel 
(be. 6 f., II, 16, Ixi. 6, Ixvi. 12) and perform menial offices 
in its service"l[Ix. 10, Ixi. 5) : even the fine thought of Israel 
as the future priesthood of humanity (Ixi. 6) thus loses its 
spirituality from the connexion in which it stands. Yet the 
subjection is on the whole a voluntary one on the part of 
the nations, as is shewn by their goodwill in escorting the 
exiles back (Ix. 4, 9, Ixvi. 20; cf. xlix. 22), and the honour- 
able function assumed by theni""as~'gTia,rdians of the new 
community (Ixvi. 12, [xlix. 23]). They have a secondary 
share in the blessing dispensed through Israel, and willingly 


acknowledge the religious primacy accorded to it, as the 
seed which the Lord hath blessed (Ixi. 6, 9). The thought 
expressed by these passages is still the universal establish- 
ment of the true religion; the Temple becomes a "house 
of prayer for all peoples" (Ivi. 7), and "all flesh" comes to 
worship before Jehovah at Jerusalem (Ixvi. 23). 

Trito-Isaiah. The theology of the Trito-Isaianic pro- 
phecies has too little independence or originality to be made 
the subject of separate exposition. The writers are epigoni'; 
the fundamental ideas are those of II Isaiah, modified under 
the influence of a changed environment. The chief aim of 
these prophecies, so far as unity of aim can be spoken of, 
is to keep alive under the depressing circumstances of the 
post-exilic age the ideal of salvation expressed in the unful- 
filled predictions of the grea.t prophet of the Exile. There 
is no longer the same confidence in the immediate realisation 
of the final redemption and glorification of Israel ; the 
hindrances arising not from political enslavement, which 
could be annihilated in a day, but mainly from the sin and 
unbelief of the people. Accordingly a large part of the section 
is occupied with denunciations of the evils of the time, 
and calls to repentance, and prayers for the divine inter- 
vention, differing in tone from the utterances of II Isaiah. 
Nevertheless the forms and imagery in which the longing 
for salvation is expressed are mostly borrowed from the 
older prophet (cf. Ivii. 14, Ixii. 10 f., with xl. 3 ; Iviii. 8 with 
lii. 12, etc.) ; and there are few conceptions of which the 
germ is not contained in one part or another of his writings. 
The hoinebringing of exiled Israelites is still Jehovah's 
crowning act of salvation (Ivi. 8, Ix. 4, g, Ixii. 5, 10 f., 
Ixvi. 20 f.) ; but the expectation is not that of a sudden 
deliverance from Babylon as in Deutero-Isaiah, but a 
gathering in of the Jewish Dispersion from all parts of the 
world to the community already established in Jerusalem^. 
The political element of Deutero-Isaiah's programme, 
represented by the inission of Cyrus, falls away entirely; 

^ So in xlix. 22 ff., a passage which Duhm is almost inclined 
to regard as a misplaced section of Trito-Isaiah. 


Jehovah's arm alone, witliout luimaii instrumentahty, 
iMinps salvation (lix. i6 i., Ixiii. 5). Muchjnore remarkable 
is tile diiappcarauce from the discourses of III Isaiah of tlic 
Servant of the Lord as a distinct and active figure ; although 
a limited application of the conception to the new Israel can 
be detected in Iviii. 12, lix. 21, and its influence on the 
writer's consciousness of his own prophetic mission is 
clearly apparent in Ixi. i — 3. The gloomy situation in 
which these oracles originated is reflected in a restriction 
of sympathy not merely to the Jewish people, but to the 
godl}' section of that people ; and this again reacts on the 
idea of God. Jehovah is indeed the one and only God,A 
"the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity" (Ivii. 15) / 
but the vivid sense of His working in Nature and Providence 
and of His purposes as realised in universal history, which 
is the keynote of Deutero-Isaiah's theology, has left but 
slight traces on the work of his successors. Their thought 
of God is contracted on the lines of an exclusive, almost 
sectarian, monotheism, which betrays the influence of 
Ezekiel rather than of II Isaiah. The heathen and the 
apostates are "enemies" of Jehovah (lix. 18, Ixiv. 2, 
Ixvi. 6, 14), who, though He is the one God of heaven and 
earfh, is limited in His interests and affections to the 
community of His true worshippers in Judea. Hence the 
day of salvation, the "acceptable year of the Lord" to 
which the prophets look forward, is a day of "vengeance" 
on His adversaries (Ixi. 2; cf. lix. 17 f., Ixiii. 4, Ixv. 6, 
Ixvi. 6, 14), — a word used only once by II Isaiah of the 
judgement on the cruel tj'ranny of Babylon (xlvii. 3). How 
deeply this idea of- vengeance had entered into the concep- 
tion of God is seen from the lurid vision of Ixiii. i — 6, where 
Jehovah in person is represented as returning in blood- 
stained raiment from a great slaughter of the peoples, pro- 
claiming that the year of His redemption has come. It is 
not to be denied that the expect ation o f divine retribution 
on the enemies and oppressors of Israel has points of contact 
in the teaching of Deutero-Isaiah (e.g. xlii. 13 — 17); in 
Trito-Isaiah, however, the idea is dwelt u'pon to the exclu- 
sion of the nobler thought which inspired the exilic prophet, 


the hope of universal salvation through the revelation in 
historj7 of the Saviour- God of Israel. 


Final Redaction and Canonisation of 
THE Book of Isaiah. 

In the Introduction to Vol. i. of this commentary 
(pp. lxx\dii ff.) a tentative sketch was given of the compli- 
cated process by which the first part of the book of Isaiah 
(chh. i. — xxxix.) may have been put together in its present 
form. However much may be uncertain in the construction 
there suggested, there can be no doubt that the last stage 
of the editorial process belongs to a comparatively late post- 
exilic date. This we inferred from the inclusion of prophecies 
which bear internal evidence of their late origin, and from 
the fact that some of the latest of these occur not at the end 
of the whole book but at the close of the sections into which 
it is naturally divided (xi. lo — xii. ; xxiv. — xxvii. ; xxxiv., 
XXXV.), which must therefore be presumed to have existed 
as separate volumes down to the time when these late 
additions were made. Further, the appending of the 
biographical chapters (xxxvi. — ^xxxix.) makes it highly 
probable that the collection thus completed contained all 
the prophecies acknowledged as Isaiah's at the time. We 
have now to consider how chh. xl. — Ixvi. came to be added 
to this oldest edition of Isaiah's prophecies. 

The separate history of these 27 chapters must have been- 
a comparatively simple one. We have seen reason to believe 
that the first two divisions (xl. — xlviii. and xlix. — Iv.) were 
published separately, but within a very short time of each 
other ; and they must have been combined soon afterwards 
either by the author (II Isaiah) himself or by some of his 
disciples. The Trito-Isaianic section (Ivi. — Ixvi.) appears 
to contain prophecies of various dates, some perhaps earlier 
than 520, others as late as c. 450. Whether these chapters 
ever formed an independent collection, or were from the . 
first appended to the book of Deutero-Isaiah (to whose 

Ixviii INTIvODlK TrON 

school tlic writtMS belonged, and wliose work they continued), 
we have no means of determining. On either liypothesis 
tlic compilation of the volume corresponding substantial!}' 
to our chh. xl.— Ixvi. cannot liave been earlier, and probably 
was not much later, than the middle of the fifth century B.C. 
It would naturally follow from what has been said that 
Isaianic authorship was not attributed to chh. xl. — Ixvi. by 
the compiler of chh. i. — xxxix. The conclusion is of course 
not absolutely certain; for it is possible to hold that the 
editor of i. — xxxix. had some special reason for exchiding 
these chapters from his collection. Still there is a strong 
presumption that if they had been generally recognised as 
Isaiah's they would have found a place in the collection 
before the historical appendix instead of after it. How 
or when they came to be regarded as the work of Isaiah i? 
a question which will always remain unanswered. That 
in the time of the Chronicler (c. 300 b.c. or later) chh. xl. — 
Ixvi. circulated under the name of Jeremiah is a very 
hazardous inference of Duhm^ from 2 Chr. xxxvi. 22 (= Ezra 

^ Approved by Whitehouse, and strongly supported by Gray. 
The argument turns on the meaning of the phrase "to complete 
(ni^D/)) the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah" in 
V. 22. It is maintained that as v. 21, "to fulfil (nix'po'?) the 
word. ..Jeremiah," refers to one prophecy of Jeremiah (xxix. 10), 
V. 22 must refer to another prophecy of his, the fulfilment of 
which completed the accomplishment of Jeremiah's word ; and 
since v. 23 obviously refers to Isa. xliv. 28, xlv. i, this must be the 
prediction contemplated in v. 22, whence it follows that the book 
in wliich it is contained was at that time supposed to have been 
•written by Jeremiah. This is a somewhat subtle exegesis to 
apply to the Chronicler, and one or two things seem to be over- 
looked. The ordinary and natural interpretation is that v. 22 
still refers to Jer. xxix. 10; but this view does not necessarily 
imply that DVy? is a synonym of nix'poS, or that in 
V. 22 we have a mere repetition of the corresponding clause in 
». 21. In point of fact the verb n7D is never used of the 
fulfilment of a prophecy, although in Dan. xi. 36 it is used of 
the expiration of a fore- ordained course of events. Moreover 
it does not seem possible that the Qal can have the transitive 
sense of "complete": it would at least be necessary to change 
the Massoretic pointing to Pi'el. We venture to suggest that 
all objections are removed if we take the clause in v. 22 a=; a note 


i. I ) . It is difficult to believe that if a tradition of Jeremianic 
authorship had once been established it would have been • 
set aside in the codification of the remains of the prophetical 
literature. The most probable view is that these prophecies 
remained anonymous during their whole separate history ; 
and it is quite possible that the editor of our present book 
of Isaiah was the first to certify them as the work of Isaiah 
by the simple act of appending them to the previously 
existing book. 

We have next to inquire whether it be possible to fix a 
date before which the successive redactions of the book of 
Isaiah must have been completed.' Now the oldest external 
evidence for the existence of a book of Isaiah comes from 
the half-century between c. i8o and c. 130 B.C. It is of 
great importance to ascertain what light is thrown on the 
composition of the book at that period. The results of 
investigation are not absolutely conclusive ; but they are 
such as to make it extremely probable that the book of 
Isaiah as then known was practically identical with its 
present form. There are three closely related facts to con- 
sider: (i) the use of the book by Jesus ben Sira, (2) the 
formation of the prophetic Canon ; and (3) the existence of 
a Greek translation. 

(i) The Wisdom of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) is a work 
composed, it is generally believed, not later than 180 b.c. 
In the section called "The Praise of Famous Men" (chh. 
xliv. — 1.) the following passage occurs (xlviii. 22 — 25 : 
R.V. Apocrypha) : 

22 For Hezekiah did that which was pleasing to the 

And was strong in the ways of David his father. 
Which Isaiah the prophet commanded, 
Who was great and faithful in his vision. 

23 In his days the sun went backward; 

of time: "wlien the word... was completed"; -i.e. at the expiry 
of the period fixed by the prophecy of Jeremiah (xxix. 10). That 
V. 23 contains an allusion to xliv. 28 f. is probable, though 
not certain; only we have no reason to connect it with the name 
of Jeremiah. 


And lie added life to the king. 

24 He saw by an excellent spirit wliat should come to 

pass at the last ; 
And he comforted them that mourned in Zion. 

25 He shewed the things that should be to the end of 

And the hidden things or ever they came. 

It is disputed by no one that the writer of this passage 
had before him a book of Isaiah; and the allusions go to 
shew that this book contained chh. xl. — Ixvi. (cf. 24 b with 
Isa. Ixi. 2 f., xl. I ; 24 a, 25 w^ith Isa. xli. 22, xlvi. 10, etc.), 
and that these chapters were preceded by chh. xxxvi. — 
xxxix. (v. 23), which implies the existence of a still earlier 
collection of Isaianic prophecies to which chh. xxxvi. — xxxix. 
formed the appendix. Thus Ben Sira's edition of Isaiah 
must have contained three parts corresponding to three 
main sections of the present book (i. — xxxv. ; xxxvi. — 
xxxix.; xl. — Ixvi.). Now it is of course possible to main- 
tain (as does Dr Kennett) that this does not prove that Ben 
Sira read the ivlwle of what is now included in these three 
sections in his copy of Isaiah ; so that we are free to enter- 
tain the hypothesis that considerable portions were added 
to the book after his time. But while that possibility 
must be admitted, it is still a very important fact that this 
writer is able to refer to two consecutive sections of the 
book of Isaiah which internal criticism sets down as among 
its latest constituents. It affords as strong evidence as the 
nature of the case admits that the last stage of the redaction 
had been carried through before his time. 

(2) The recognition of a Prophetic Canon is first explicitly 
vouched for by the grandson of Ben Sira, who about 130 b.c. 
(as is generally held) published a Greek translation of his 
grandfather's work, with a Prologue in which he thrice 
refers to a threefold division of the sacred scriptures into 
the Law, the Prophets, and the rest of the Books. It is 
universally admitted that this shews the prophetic writings 
to have formed a closed collection, and further that this 
collection was practically identical with the second division 
of the Hebrew Canon. We cannot assume that at this 


early period the theory of canonicity carried with it the later 
notion of textual inviolability; hence the inclusion of 
Isaiah in the prophetic canon known to the translator of 
Ben Sira does not necessarily mean that the book may not 
have undergone more or. less extensive alterations or ex- 
pansions at a subsequent time. At the same time canon- 
icity is hardly conceivable apart from an authoritative 
recension which must have set limits to the changes that 
could be introduced into a canonical work. Apart, there- 
fore, from clear evidence to the contrary we are entitled 
to assume that by the middle of the second century the book 
of Isaiah existed in substantially the form in which it has 
come down to us. It has to be added that Ben Sira himself 
cites in succession from each of the four volumes of canonical 
prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Twelve) ; so that 
in all probability the canonisation of the book must be 
carried back at least to about the year 200 B.C. 

(3) From the Prologue to Ben Sira we learn further 
that the prophetic books had been translated into Greek 
before the time when the author of the Prologue wiote. If 
this Greek version was identical with what is generally 
known as the LXX. we should have incontestable proof 
that the book of Isaiah then existed in its present form ; 
for our present LXX. is the rendering of a Hebrew original 
which differs only in minutiee from the Massoretic text. 
Here again we must admit as possibilities that either (a) the 
Greek version referred to in the Prologue was one older 
than the LXX., which has since perished; or (6) that it is 
preserved as a nucleus in the existing LXX., but has been 
supplemented or readjusted so as to correspond with the 
present Hebrew text. The former alternative may be 
safely ruled out on account of its inherent improbability^ 
and from the consideration that no subsequent traces are 
found of a Greek version differing from the LXX. And if 
the latter {b) were true we should expect that the additions 
to the LXX. would betray their later origin by differences 
in Greek style such as are discovered in the rendering of 
other prophetical books (Jer., Ezek.). Septuagint scholars, 
however, detect no stylistic differences in the Greek of Isaiah 


wliich would justify the theory that it is a translation made 
at sundry times and in divers manners. 

These three lines of evidence, then, point to the conclusion 
that the book of Isaiah has existed in its present form since 
the beginning of the second century B.C. This leaves it quite 
possible that prophecies as late as the third century may be 
incorporated in either part of the book ; but that any con- 
siderable additions were made in the second century is a 
view very difficult to reconcile with a fair construction of 
the external facts as stated in the preceding paragraphs^. 

* It is right to mention that a number of the best critics (Duhm, 
Marti, Kennett, etc.) do assign considerable portions of the book 
to the second century, and meet the above considerations in various 
ways. We may look at tlie position defended by Dr Kennett. He 
rejects the inferences we have drawn from the canonisation of 
the book, and from its use by Ben Sira, l)ut accepts the testimony 
of the Prologue to the existence of the Greek version. But he 
holds that this does not exclude the supposition that some of the 
prophecies were composed as late as 141 B.C. He gives reasons 
for thinking that the date assigned to the translation of Ben Sira 
is too early by about ten years, so that an interval of 20 years 
may have elapsed between the writing of the latest passages 
and the earliest witness to their existence in a Greek dress; 
adding however that even if. the commonly accepted date were 
correct "much may be done in ten years." This is perfectly 
true ; and if we could suppose the authors and editors knew that 
the work had to be finished before the arrival of Ben Sira's 
grandson in Eg>'pt, no doubt it could have been done. But in 
the absence of any conceivable motive for haste, ten years, or 
even twenty years, seems too short a space to allow for (i) the 
composition of the latest oracles, (2) the redaction of the book, 
(3) its translation into Greek, and (4) a circulation of the Greek 
version sufficiently wide to have become familiar to the Jewish 
readers to whom the translation of Ben Sira is dedicated in the 




605. Battle of Carchemish, 

Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. 
597. First deportation of Jewish Captives to Babylonia, 

with Jehoiachin. 
587. Destruction of Jerusalem, and second deportation of 

Jews, with Zedekiah. 
561. Evil-Merodach succeeds Nebuchadnezzar. 

Release of Jehoiachin. 
560. Neriglissar. 

556. Nabonidus. 

553 — 55°- Cyrus revolts against Astyages, and founds the Medo- 

Persian Empire. 
546. Defeats Croesus and captures Sardis. 

539. Fall of Babylon. 

538. First return of exiles under Sheshbazzar. 

529. Cambyses succeeds Cyrus. 

527 — 525. Persian Conquest of Egypt. 
521. Darius Hystaspis. 

520 — 516. Building of the Second Temple. (Haggai and Zech- 

490. Battle of Marathon. 

485. Xerxes I. 

480. Battles of Thermopyte and Salamis. , 

464. Artaxerxes I. (Longimanus). 

458. Return of exiles under Ezra ( }) (Malachi ?). 

445. Nehemiah appointed Governor of Judea. 

444. Introduction of the Law. 

432. Nehemiah's second visit to Jerusalem. 

424. Xerxes II. 

423. Darius II. (Nothus). 

404. Artaxerxes II. (Mnemon). 

358. Artaxerxes III. (Ochus). 

338. Darius III. (Codomannus). 

332. Battle of Issus. 

Alexander the Great. 



The following are the works chiefly used in the preparation 
of this volume : 

The Commentaries of Vitringa, Gesenius, Hitzig, De- 
litzsch, Cheyne, Dillmann, Duhm, Marti. Whitchouse, 
Condamin (as in Vol. i. p. Ixxxv) ; Box, The Book of Isaiah 
(1908) ; Haller, Die Schrifien des Alien Testaments in Auswahl 
nen iibersetzt... (1911 — 12). 

Ewald, Die jiingsten Propheten des alien Biindes (1868). 

'Duhm„Die Theologie der Propheten (1875). 

Driver, Isaiah: his Life and Times (1888). 

G. A. Smith, The Book of Isaiah. Vol. 11. (1890). 

Giesebrecht, Beitrdge zur Jesajakritik {1890). 

Kirkpatrick, The Doctrine of the Prophets (1892). 

Cheyne, Introduction to the Book of Isaiah (1895). 

G>essmann, JJeher die in Jes. c. 56 — 66 vorausgesetzten 
zeilgeschichtlichen Verhdltnisse (1898). 

Jvonig, The Exiles' Book of Consolation (1899). 

Littmann, Ueher die Abfassungszeit des Trito-Jesam 

Glazebrook, Studies in the Book of Isaiah (1910). 

Kennett, The Composition of the Book of Isaiah (1910)- 

*,,* For Literature on the Servant of the Lord, see p. 281. 



Ch. XL. 1 — -11. The Prelude. 

This first proclamation of glad tidings to Zion (see ch. xli. 27) 
is a passage of singular beauty, breathing the spirit of new-born 
hope and enthusiasm with which the prophet enters on his work. 
The announcement of a miraculous restoration of the exiles to 
their own land is the central theme of his prophecy, and the point 
around which all the ideas of the book crystallise. As yet the 
historical fact is but dimly outlined, the writer's mind being 
occupied with its ideal significance as a revelation of the glory 
and the gracious character of Jehovah {vv. 5, 10 f.). His state 
of mind borders on ecstasy ; his ears are filled with the music of 
heavenly voices telling him that the night is far spent and the 
day is at hand ; and although his home is with the exiles in 
Babylon, his gaze is fixed throughout on Jerusalem and the great 
divine event which is the consummation of Israel's redemption. 
— The prologue consists of two parts : 

i. vv. I, 2. Proclamation of forgiveness and promise of 
deliverance to the exiled nation. 

ii. vv. 3 — II. An imaginative description of the process by 
which the promise is to be fulfilled, — Jehovah's return with His 
people to their ancient abode. This second division contains 
three sections : 

(i) vv. 3 — 5. A voice is heard calling on unseen agencies to 
prepare a way for Jehovah through the desert. The idea 
expressed is that already the spiritual and supernatural forces 
are in motion which will bring about the return of the captives 
and a revelation of the divine glory to all the world. 

(2) VV.6 — 8. A second voice calls on the prophet to proclaim 
the fundamental truth on which the realisation of his hope 
depends, — the perishableness of all human power, and the 
enduring stability of the word of the Lord. 

(3) vv. 9 — II. The prophet himself now takes up the strain ; 
he summons a company of ideal messengers to announce to Zion 
and the cities of Judah the advent of Jehovah with His ransomed 

2 ISAI \ll \I,. 1, 1 

C^'OMFORT ye, comfort ye my people, saith your 
(lod. Speak ye 'comfortably to Jerusalem, and 
cry unto her, that her -warfare is accomplished, that 

' Hcb. to the heart of. • Or, time of service 

1, 2. The term of Jerusalem's servitude is accomplislied ; she 
has suffered the full penalty of her transgressions. 

1. Comfort ve] The repetition of an emphatic opening word is 
characteristic of the writer's style; cf. ch. xliii. ii, 25, xlviii. 
ri, 15, li. 9, 12. 17, Hi. I, II, etc. (see Introd. p. xxii). It is rather 
idle to enquire who are the persons addresse4 ; they might no 
doubt be prophets (;is the clause is paraphrased by the Targ.) 
or the prophetically minded among tlic people, but certainly. not 
the priests, as is suggested by the Sept. a.ddition of iepels at the 
beginning of t'. 2. 

saith vour God] The verb differs m tense from the usual 
prophetic formula, being an impf. either of continued or of 
incipient action. The same form occurs in ch. i. 11, 18, xxxiii. 
10, xl. 25, xli. 21, Ixvi 9 (see Introd. p. x.xiii and Driver, Tenses, 
§ .S3 («) Obs.). To translate it by a future and take this as a 
proof that the words were written by Isaiah 150 years before is 
quite unwarranted. 

2. Speak ye comfortably /o] Lit. " Speak to the heart of." To 
"speak to one's own heart" is to whisper or meditate (i Sam. i. 
13); to speak to the heart of another is to soothe, or persuade, 
or comfort. For the meaning of the phrase, see Gen. xxxiv. 3; 
Jud. xix. 3 ; 2 Sam. xix. 7 ; Hos. ii. 14 ; and esp. Gen. 1. 21 ; and 
Ruth ii. 13, where it is parallel to "comfort" as here. 

Jerusalem'] .\n ideal representation of the people, like Zion in 
.-. ; cf. xlix. 14 ff., li. 16 f., lii. i fif., 7 ff. There arc two standing 
personifications of Israel in this prophecy, the other being the 
" Servant of the Lord." These, however, are not interchangeable ; 
Zion represents the nation on its receptive side ; she is the mother 
of the people, the recipient of the blessings of salvation ; while 
the Serv-ant represents the historic Israel, past, present and 
future, in its religious aspect, with a divine mission to fulfil for 
humanity. That there was an actual population in the ruined 
city during the Exile is of course not to be inferred from this 

her warfare is accomplished] The word for "warfare" is 
suitably rendered "appointed time" in A.V. of Job vii. i, xiv. 14. 
It means properly a term of military ser\-ice ; then figuratively 
any period of irksome toil or endurance which a man longs to 
reach the end of; such as life itself had become to Job. The 
reference here is of course to the Exile. Render : time of service 
(as marg.). 

ISAIAH XL. 2, 3 3 

her ^iniquitj' is pardoned; that she hath received of 
the Lord's hand double for all her sins. 

The voice of one ^that crieth, Prepare ye in the 3 
wilderness the way of the Lord, make ^straight in the 

^ Or, punishment is accepted See Lev. xxvi. 43. 

2 Or, that crieth in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way &c. 

^ Or, level 

her iniquity (better, her guilt) is pardoned] This expression 
for pardon is peculiar. The active form of the verb (n^'l) occurs 
in Lev. xxvi. 34, 41, 43; 2 Chron. xxxvi. 21 in the sense "to 
pay up" (so. the unkept Sabbaths). So here the passive will 
mean "her guilt is paid off." It is very doubtful if the word 
has anything to do with the common Heb. verb nVI = "be 
pleased," or "satisfied." (See Fraenkel in Zeiischr. fiir die 
alttest. Wiss. 1899, p. 181.) 

that she hath received... double] i.e. "double penalty for her sins" 
(cf. Jer. xvi. 18, xvii. 18; Rev. xviii. 6), not "(she shall receive) 
double favour for her previous punishment." It is difficult to 
say whether the clause is subordinate to the two preceding as in 
A.V. (rendering "for" instead of that), or co-ordinate wdth them, 
as in R.V. The idea that Jerusalem's punishment had been 
greater than her sin required is not to be pressed theologically; 
but the idea that Jehovah's penal purpose can be satisfied by a 
temporary chastisement is of the essence of the O.T. notion of 
forgiveness. It must be remembered, however, that in the view 
of this prophet, Israel includes the Servant of Jehovah, and the 
unmerited sufterings of the Servant form th& atoning element in 
the punishment whicli has fallen on the nation as a whole (ch. liii.). 

3 — 5. The prophet hears a voice calling on angelic powers to 
prepare the way of the Lord. Duhm is probably right in re- 
garding this as a case of true prophetic "audition," and not a 
mere flight of poetic imagination (see on v. 6). 

3. The voice of one that crieth] The word "voice" here and 
often has the force of an interjection ; render accordingly : Hark ! 
one crying. The voice is not that of God (on account of the 
following "our God"), neither is it a human voice; it comes 
from one of the angelic ministers of Jehovah and is addressed to 
beings of the same order. The words in the wilderness are rightly 
joined with prepare ye, etc., in accordance with the accents. 
A.V. (see R.V. marg.) agrees with LXX. and Vulg. and the N.T. 
citations (Matt. iii. 3; Mark i. 3; Luke iii. 4) in attaching the 
phrase to the word "crying"; but sense and parallelism alike 
shew that the Heb. accentuation is right. (The LXX., however, 
omits the word for in the desert in the next line.) 

Prepare] Strictly "Clear of obstacles" (see Gen. xxiv. 31; 
Lev. xiv. 36; Ps. Ixxx. 9; cf. ch. Ivii. 14, l.xii. 10; Mai. iii. i). 

} ISAIAH XL. 3—6 

4 desert a high way for our God. Every valley shall be 
exalted, and ever}^ mountain and hill shall be made low: 
and ^the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough 

5 places ^plain : and the glory of the Lord shall be re- 
vealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth 

6 of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice of one saying, 

' (3r, the uneven shall be made level • Or, a plain 

The figure is taken from the Eastern practice of repairing the 
roads for a royal journey. It may be difficult to say how far 
the representation is ideal. Allusions to the march through the 
desert are too constant a feature of the prophecy (ch. xl. lo f., 
xli. i8 f., xlii. i6, xliii. 19 f , xlviii. 21, xlix. 9 ff., Iv. 12 f.) to be 
treated as mefely figurative ; the prophet seems to have expected 
the deliverance to issue in a triumphal progress of Jehovah with 
His people through the desert between Babylonia and Palestine, 
after the analogy of the exodus from Egypt. But all such 
passages probably look beyond the material fulfilment and 
include the removal of political and other hindrances to the 
restoration of Israel. 

4. and the crooked... plahi] More literally: and the uneven 
shall become a plain, and the rugged places a vallsy. rough 
places is a word of uncertain sense, which does not occur else- 
where, straight and plain are nouns in the original. 

5. In place of it together LXX. has "the salvation of God," 
borrowing apparently from ch. lii. 10. See Euke iii. 6. 

for the month... it] This prophetic formula is nowhere else used 
by second Isaiah. The whole verse is deleted as an interpolation 
by Duhm, Cheyne and others, but on grounds which seem in- 
sufficient. It forms a natural, if not necessary, cUmax to the 
first "cry"; and even a decided change of metre (if there be 
one) is no reason for rejecting it. 

6 — 8. The second voice proclaims the double truth : all 
earthly might is transitory, the word of God is eternal. Logically 
the section interrupts the connexion between v. 5 and v. g, and is 
itself a prelude to vv. 12 ff. But to transpose vv. 6 — 8 and 9 — 11, 
as is done by the commentators just named, is liardly advisable; 
logical sequence is not the principle on which the book is arranged. 

6. The voice... Cry] Render (as before): Hark! one saying. 
Cry. "Cry" here evidently means "proclaim" or "prophesy" 
as in V. 2, ch. xliv. 7, Ixi. i f. ; Jer. vii. 27. Hence the response. 
And one said, will naturall}' come from a prophet, the call being 
from tlie same quarter as in v. 3. There is no need to suppose 
that an ideal person is meant, the most probable interpretation 
is that it is the prophet himself who replies to the voice. It is 
better, therefore, to change the vowels and read with LXX. and 

ISAIAH XL. 6—8 5 

Cty. And ^one said, What shall I cry? All flesh is 
grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of 
the field : the grass withereth, the flower fadeth ; be- 7 
cause the breath of the Lord bloweth upon it : surely 
the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower 8 
fadeth : but the word of our God shall stand for ever. 

' The Sept. and Vulgate have, / said. 

Vulg. (see marg.) : And I said ; in spite of the fact that the author 
usually keeps his own personality in the background. It is not 
too bold a conjecture that we have here the prophet's personal 
call to his ministry. We may compare the call of Mohammed in 
the 96th Sura of the Koran; "Proclaim (or recite) in the name 
of thy Lord"; where the verb 'ikra' is the same as in this v., 
though possibly with a different sense. According to some 
traditions Mohammed answered the call exactly as the prophet 
does here: md 'akra, "What shall I proclaim?" (.see Noldeke, 
Gesch. des Qordns, 2nd ed. pp. 81 f.). ^ 

All flesh is grass'] The answer to the question, "What shall 
I cry?" Cf. ch. xxxvii. 27; Job viii. 12, xiv. 2; Ps. xxxvii. 2, 
ciii. 15, and esp. Ps. xc. 5 f. goodliness] The Heb. word is 

nowhere else used in this sense. It signifies "lovingkindness" 
or "grace" (of God to men). The transition from the one mean- 
ing to the other might be illustrated by the Greek x^P's. but there 
is some reason to suspect the text. Following the LXX, (56^a), 
we may read nin instead of nDH. 

7. the breath of the Loud] i.e. the wind (Ps. ciii. 16), .specially 
the scorching east-wind (Hos. xiii. 15) or Sirocco, which blows 
chiefly in the spring, blighting the fresh vegetation (see Smith, 
Hist. Geog. of Palestine, pp. 67 if.). 

surely the people is grass] " The people," used absolutely, must 
apparently mean "humanity"; although there are no strict 
parallels to this sense (see xlii. 5). To understand it of Israel is 
opposed to the prophet's general teaching and misrepresents his 
meaning here. It is not Israel, but the enemies of Israel, whose 
perishableness he is concerned to assert. The words at best are 
a flat repetition oi v. 6 and should probably be removed as a 
marginal gloss. The LXX., indeed, omits all from because in 
I'. 7 to fadeth in w. 8 : but this proves nothing, as it is evidently 
an oversight caused by the homoeoteleuton. The resumption of 
the leading thought is a very effective introduction to the con- 
trasted idea in the end of i;. 8. 

8. the word of our God] is the word spoken by the prophets to 
Israel, the announcement of Jehovah's immutable purpose in the 
world ; this is the one permanent factor in human history. It is 
a mistake to limit the reference to the word of promise just 

6 ISAIAH XL. M, lo 

9 'O thuu that tellcst good tidings to Zion, get thee up 
into the high mountain; ^O thou that tellest good 
ti(hngs to Jerusalem, hft up thy voice with strength; 
hft it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judali, 

lo Heliold, your God! Behold, the Lord God will come as 
a mighty one, and his arm shall rule for him : behold, 
his reward is with him, and his recompence before him. 

' Or, O Zion, thai bringest good tidings 

- (Jr. O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings 

declared by the prophet; the statement is general, although the 
implied argument is that as the threatening predictions of earlier 
prophets have been fulfilled, so this new \vord of comfort shall 
stand, because it jiroceeds from the same God, who can dissolve 
the mightiest combinations of human power (v. 23). 

9^ — 11. The prophet announces the triumphal approach of 
Jehovah to Zion. 

9. O thou.. .Zfon] The alternative rendering of marg. and A.V., 
"O Zion, that bringest good tidings," is grammatically admissible, 
and is maintained by some ; but the first is to be preferred, 
(1) because of the analogous passages xli. 27 and lii. 7, and (2) be- 
cause Zion always in this prophecy represents the community as 
the recipient of salvation. The other translation might seem to 
be reconmiended by the apparent distinction between Jerusalem 
and the cities of Judah, but this is probably not intended; Zion, 
itself is included among the cities of Judah. To "tell good 
tidings " is expres.sed by a single verb (basser), which is the 
Hebrew basis (through the LXX ) of the N.T. (iva.yye\i'(;ecrd(u. 
The idea of glad tidings seems fundamental to the root, both in 
Heb. and the cognate dialects, although once (i Sam. iv. 17) it 
refers to an announcement of disaster. The fem. part, here used 
(mSbassireth) is collective, denoting an ideal band of messengers 
(less probably the company of prophets). These Evangelists are 
bidden to "go up to a high mountain" to see from afar the 
coming of Jehovah, then to "lift up their voice without fear" 
(of being put to shame) and proclaim the glad tidings. 

10, 11. These words are spoken by the prophet in his own 

10. as a mighty one] Lit. "in (the capacity of) a strong one" 
{Bith essentiae). The chief ancient versions vocalised the word 
as an abstract noun behnzek ("with strength"), which yields a 
better sense. and his arm shall rule] Or, His arm ruling; — 
the "arm," the symbol of strength. 

reward... recompence] The idea is somewhat uncertain, (i) It 
might mean the reward (lit. "hire") which Jehovah has 
earned by His victory over the Chaldeans, in which case either 


He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather n 
the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and 
shall gently lead those that give suck. 

the redeemed exiles themselves or the spoils of the vanquished 
foe are the reward, which He brings with Him through the desert 
(v. ii). Or (2) it may refer to the reward wliich Jehovah is 
prepared to bestow on His people, — the blessings of His salvation. 
The last sense is supported by the similar passage, ch. Ixii. 11. 

11. Jehovah as the Good Shepherd: an ideal picture of the 
homeward journey of the exiles, — hardly of the permanent 
relations of Jehovah to His people in the final dispensation. The 
same image is used of the Restoration in Jer. xxiii. i ff., xxxi. 10; 
Ezek. xxxiv. 11 ff.; Isa. xlix. 9; cf. Ixiii. 11. With a better 
division of clauses, the v. reads: 

Like a shepherd feeding his floclc. 

With His arm He gathers; 
The lambs in His bosom He carries; 
Those that give suck He guides. 
Comp. xlix. 10; Gen. xxxiii. 13. 

Ch. XL. 12 — 31. Jehovah, God of Israel, the 

is the title suggested by Dr Davidson ^ for this great passage. 
It is a hymn on the immeasurable greatness and power and 
wisdom of Jehovah, the Creator, as displayed in the works of 
Nature and in the government of the world ; an expansion of 
the idea of vv. 6 — 8. The argument from Creation is handled 
with a boldness of conception and freedom of imagination to 
which there is nothing equal in the earlier literature, and the 
frequent appeal to it on the part of this prophet may be held to 
mark a distinct advance in Israel's consciousness of God, coin- 
ciding generally with the period of the Exile. The practical aim 
w^hich the writer has in view appears from vv. 27 ff. ; it is to 
counteract the unbelief and despondency of his fellow-country- 
men and to inspire them with some true sense of the infinitude 
of Jehovah, their own God, who has addressed to them the 
consolations of vv. i — 11. The passage may be divided as 
follows : 

i. The argument, vv. 12 — 26. 

(i) vv. 12 — 17. The greatness of Jehovah is illustrated by the 
magnitude of His operations as Creator [v. 12), by the perfection 
and self-sufficiency of His knowledge {vv. 13, 14), and by the 
insignificance in comparison with Him of all that exists {vv. 


^ Expositor, February, 1884, p. 96. 

8 ISAIAH XL. 12 

Who hath measured the waters in tlie hollow of his 
liaml. and niotcd out heaven with the span, and com- 
prehended thi' dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed 

(2) vv. i8 — 2o. The thought of the transcendent greatness 
of Jehovah "suggests the idol, which also bears the name of 
God.... The magnitude of the true God suggests the littleness of 
the idol-god. He is incomparable ; it is by no means so. Its 
genesis and manufacture are known. It is a cast metal, gilt 
article, upheld with chains, lest it should totter and tumble to 
the ground. Or it is a hard-wood tree fashioned into a block 
by a cunning workman'." This is the first of several sarcastic 
passages in which the processes of an idol factory are minutely 
described: xli. 6, 7, xHv. 9 — 20, xlvi. 6 — 8. 

(3) vv. 21 — 26. The thought of vv. 12 — 17 is now resumed 
and completed. The intelligent contemplation of Nature {vv. 
21 f.) or of History (vv. 23 f.) is enough to dispel the glamour of 
idolatry, and force the mind back on the Incomparableness of 
Him who is the Creator and Ruler of the world {vv. 25 f.). 

ii. Tiie application, vv. 27 — 31. If such be the God of Israel, 
how can the exiles think that He is either unobservant of their 
fate or indifferent to it? Their God is an everlasting God; His 
strength is unfaihng, His understanding unsearchable ; and they 
who wait on Him shall find in Him an inexhaustible source of 
life and energy. 

12 — 14. Th e_ argument for the i rfi"'^-"^p "f God opens with 
a series of rhetorical questions, not needing to b fi- an s w^re d r -but 
irvte nded to r a ise the" thoughts of despo ndeiil. Israelites to the 
contemplatioiTot the true nature of thtTGod they worshipped. 
For a different, namely, to humble the pride of human 
reason, the Almighty Himself addresses a similar series of inter- 
rogations to Job (xxxviii. 5 fl.). 

12. Who can vie wath Jehovah in power ? The point of these 
questions hes in the smallness of the measures figured as being 
used by Jehovah in creating the universe, — the hollow of the 
hand, the span, etc. Logically, the questions are not quite on 
the same line as those in vv. 13 f. There the answer required is 
a simple negative : " No one " ; here the meaning is, " What sort 
of Being must He be who measured." etc. 

meted out] Lit. " determined " (by measure), as Job xxviii. 
25; see on "directed" {v. 13). The word for comprehended has 
in New Heb. and Aram, the sense of "measure" and is probably 
so used here, — the only instance of the Qal in the O.T. 

a measure] means "a third part," a tierce, but obviously a 
small measure, probably a third of an ephah. 

^ Davidson, Ibid. p. loi. 

ISAIAH XL. 12—14 9 

the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? 
Who hath ^ directed the spirit of the Lord, or being his 13 
counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he 14 
counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in 

1 Or, meted out 

scales and balance might be better transposed; the first word 
(peles) denotes the horizontal beam, the second {mo' zndyim) the 
pair of scales. 

Th e conception of the universe as measured out by it s Creator 
a ppears to include tvvo^th ings. There is first the idea of orde r, 
a djustment and proportio~n in Natur e, suggesting intelligence at 
work in the making of the world. But the more important 
thought is that of the infinite power which has carried through 
these vast operations as easily as man handles his smallest 
instruments of precision. The passage is not a demonstrat ion 
of the existence of God, but ass uming that He exists and is the 
Creator of all thi ngs, the prophet seeks to convey to his rea ders 
so me impression of His Omnipoten ce, which is so conspicuously 
displayed in the accurate determination of the great masses and 
expa nses of the material world . 

13. From the power of Jehovah, the writer passes to expatiate 
on His perfect and self-sufficing wisdom. 

Who hath directed] The verb is the same as "meted out" in 
the previous verse, and the transition from the literal to the 
metaphorical use is somewhat uncertain. From the idea of 
''determining" according to a fixed scale we get the notion of 
"regulating"; cf. Ez. xviii. 25, etc., "the way of Jehovah 
is not regulated," i.e. is arbitrary. Or, on the other hand, the 
meaning might be "estimated" (as Prov. xvi. 2, xxi. 2, xxiv. 
12). The first sense suits the context best; whether we render 
"direct" or "regulate" or "determine." LXX. probably read 
a different word; its ris eyvu voiv Kvpcov is verbally cited in 
I Cor. ii. 16. 

the spirit of the Luiiu] seems to denote here the organ of the 
d ivine intelligence (s ee i Cor. ii. 11). This is more likely than 
that the spirit means the creative energy of God (as Ps. civ. 30) 
conceived as controlled or "directed" by superior wisdom. The 
idea, however, does not appear elsewhere in the O.T. The Spirit 
of God is ordinarily mentioned as the life-giving principle 
emanating from Jehovah, which pervades and sustains the world, 
and endows select men with extraordinary powers and virtues. 

or being... him] Better, perhaps: and was the man of His 
counsel who taught Him? "His" and "Him" refer of course to 
Jehovah, not the Spirit. 

14. and who instructed him] Or, so as to give Him insight. 

lo ISAIAH XL. I.]— 18 

the path of judgement, and taught liim knowledge, and 

15 shewed to him the way of understanihng? Beliold. the 
nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as 
tlie small dust of the balance: behold, Mie taketh up 

16 the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not. 
sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof suilicient for 

17 a burnt offering. All the nations are as notliing before 
him ; they are counted to him ^less than nothing, and 

iS 3 vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? or what 

' Or, the isles are as the fine dust that is lifted up 

- Or, as a thing of nought ' Or, confusion 

path of judgement] path of right {niishpd/). See ch. xxviii. 26, 
where the word means orderly procedure; here the reference is 
to tlie order of Nature, or else the transition is already made from 
Creation to Providence (v. 15). 

way of understanding] Or, way ol insight. The interrnediate 
clause and taught him knowledge is omitted by the LXX., and 
since it disturbs the parallelism, and repeats the verb just used, 
it may be omitted as a gloss. 

15—17. The insignificance of collective humanity before 
Jehovah. The meditation passes from Nature to History, with 
the same design of encouraging those who doubted Jehovah's 
power to save. 

a drop of a buckef] Rather : a drop from the bucket ; which 
falls away without appreciably lessening the weight. 

the small dust, etc.] which does not turn the scale. 

the isles] A rhara^fp^'^ti^ ^ word nf fhf. second half of I.saiah, 
ocsuri jng 12 time s (see Introd. p. xxv). in the general usage 
of O.T~it denotes the islands and coastlands of the Medit erranean 
(comp. the use of the singular by Isaiah in ch. .vx. (3, x.xui. 2, 6). 
Etymolo gically it probably means simply " habitab jg iRuds " ; 
and ~tnis pr opJ Ket uses it with great laxity, hardTv~disti ngiLLshing 
it from "lands" (see esp. ch. xlii. 15). 

as a very little thing] "a grain of powder," used of the manna, 
Ex. xvi. 14. 

16. So infinitely great is Jehovah that the forests of Lebanon 
would not yield fuel enough, nor its wild animals victims enough, 
for a holocaust worthy of Him. 

17. less than nothing] Better: of nought; " belonging to the 
category of nothingness" (Cheyne). 

, vanity] The Heb. is tohiX, a word which means primarily "a 
waste," "and is appUed in Gen. i. 2 to the primeval chaos (A.V. 
"without form"). See on ch. xxix. 21, xxxiv. 11. Here and in 
many other cases it is a synonym for nonentity 

18 — 20. "To whom will ye hken God? " This q uestion int ro- 

ISAIAH XL. 18—20 II 

likeness will ye compare unto him? The graven image, 19 
a workman melted if, and the goldsmith spreadeth it 
over with gold, and casteth for it silver chains. He that 20 
is too impoverished for such an oblation chooseth a tree 

dugesthe second distinct theme of the argument the folly of 
idolatry: i\lthoug1r;ttre- pfophet hastiThis m i nd the difficiilt ies 
of Jews impressed by the fascinations of idolatry, his words ar e 
addressed not to them direcj:ly, but to men in generalT The error 
he~exp oses is not tjie^vorshijipingjjfjehoyah^ b y im a ges, b utjthe^ 
u niversal error of tliinking that the DeltyT^ / ) can be re presen ted 
by the works oTliu man han ds. ' His point of view is that of Paul's 
spe ech to t he Athenians : "we ought not to think that the 
Godhead is like unto gold or silver or stone, graven by art and 
device of man" (Acts xvii. 29). In order to see how absurd this 
is, one has but to observe how the images are manufactured ; 
and the various processes are described with an unmistakeable 
irony. After v. 19 Duhm, Cheyne and most others (following 
out a hint of Lagarde's) insert vv. 6 and 7 of the next chapter. 
The description would then fall into tw-o unequal parts ; first, 
the construction of a metal idol (v. 19, xli. 6, 7), and second, that 
of a wooden idol (v. 20); each ending with the fastening of the 
image to its pedestal. The transposition is by no means certain 
(see on xli. 6 f.). 

19. The graven image,... melted it] The word pesel means 
properly a carved or sculptured image, as distinct from the 
"molten image" (niassekah). The verb ndsak ("cast") shews 
that the distinction is* ignored, pesel being used generically for 
"idol." LXX. and Pesh. substitute "make" for "cast." 

overlayeth it with gold] The idol consists of a core of brass 
which is cast by the "workman," and then handed over to the 
" goldsmith " to be covered with a plating of gold (see ch. xxx. 22). 

and casteth for it silver chains'] A perplexing clause, for which 
the LXX. appears to have no equivalent. The word rendered 
"casteth" is the same as that for "goldsmith" (strictly 
"assayer"), the participle being translated bj' a finite verb. But 
such a construction is incorrect : and besides the verb is never 
used except in the sense of "test" or "purify." It is only when 
the partic. has become a noun that it assumes the general sense 
of worker in metal. Hence Dillmann proposes to render "and 
with silver chains a smelter (sc. covers it)." But this is exceed- 
ingly harsh. The word for "chains " is also of doubtful meaning. 
The text probably shares the corruption of the words immediately 
following in v. 20. 

•20. He that is too impoverished for such an oblation] (lit. "im- 
poverished with respect to an oblation"). This is probably the 
sense intended by the Massoretic punctuation (HD-IIF) jSppn) . 

12 ISAIAH XL. 20—22 

that will not rot; he seeketli unto liim a cunning work- 
man to 'set up a graven image, that shall not be moved. 

21 Have \e not known? have ^'e not heard? hath it not 
iK-en told vou from tlie beginning? have ye not ^under- 

22 stood from the foundations of the earth ? It is he that 
sitteth ^upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants 

' ( )r, prepare * Or, understood Hie foundations 

' Or, above 

The words, it would seem, must express (a) the subject of the 
following verbs, and (b) the transition from the metal to the 
wooden image which is obviously implied (cf. xliv. 12, 13). The 
rendering of R.V. satisfies the first condition, but hardly the 
second; for the sense turns on the word "such," which is in no 
way indicated; and the term nOlin (temple-oblation) has no 
appropriateness in this connexion. The ancient versions give 
evidence of considerable uncertainty as to the text, but afford 
no real help ; and the modern conjectures are wholly unsatisfying. 

a tree that will not rot] Such as those named in ch. xliv. 14. 
A weak parody of Eternity ! 

that shall not be moved] that will not totter. See i Sam. v. 3, 4 ; 
cf. Wisd. Sol. xiii. 15 f. 

21. The next section (21 — 26) again commences with a series 
of questions driving home the force of the whole previous argument. 
The appeal seems to be still to mankind at large. 

Have ye not. ..heard?] Rather: Do ye not know? Do ye not 
hear? The two avenues by which the knowledge of God reaches 
the ijiind are reflexion on the facts of Nature and History, and 
external testimony. 

told you from the beginning] i.e. from the beginning of the world, 
by the' silent continuous witness of Nature to the greatness of the 
Creator (Ps. xix. i ; Job xii. 9). 

from the foundations] The preposition " from " is not expressed, 
but might eas'ly have been accidentally omitted, in the Heb. 
The LXX., indeed, and other versions take "foundations" as obj. 
to "understood" (so marg.). The parallelism seems to require 
the phrase to be taken in a temporal sense (cf . Rom. i. 20) ; 
though there is no other case where the word has the sense oi 
fundatio (properly, = fundamenta). It might be better to read 
with Duhm finp'O (Ps. Ixxxvii. i) instead of nnpiD, and render 
"since the founding of the earth." 

22, 23. The majesty of the God who reveals Himself in 
Creation and Providence is described in interjectional participial 
clauses, the force of which should not be blunted by the super- 
fluous "It is" of E.V. 

22. upon (rather, above, marg.) the circle of the earth] i.e. the 

ISAIAH XL. 22—26 13 

thereof are as grasshoppers ; that stretcheth out the 
heavens as ^a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent 
to dwell in : that bringeth princes to nothing ; he maketh 23 
the judges of the earth as ^vanity. ^Yea, they have 24 
not been planted ; yea, they have not been sown ; yea, 
their stock hath not taken root in the earth : moreover 
he bloweth upon them, and they wither, and the whirl- 
wind taketh them away as stubble. To whom then will 25 
ye liken me, that I should be equal to him} saith the 
Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, ^and see who 26 

^ Or, gauze - Or, confusion 

•* Or, Scarce are they planted, scarce are they sown, scarce hath 
their stock taken root in the earth, ivhen he blotveth upon them S-c. 
* Or, and see : who hath created these ? he that cS-c. 

horizon, where earth and hea\-en meet (see Prov. viii. 27 ; Job 
xxii. 14), "at the confines of liglit and darkness" (Job xxvi. 10). 
The earth vnth. its surrounding ocean is conceived as a fiat disc, 
on which the arch of heaven comes down. 

so th?.t tJie inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers'] i.e. they 
appear such to Jeho\-ah, enthroned so liigh above them. Comp. 
for the expression Num. xiii. 33, and for the thought Ps. cxiii. 5 f. 

as a curtain'] like gauze (ht. "fine cloth"). 

a tent to dwell in] i.e. simply "a habitable tent." 

23, 24. The power of God displayed in Providence. 

23. princes] dignitaries (a poetic word), "potent, grave and 
reverend signiors." as vanity] "as nothingness," lit. "chaos"; 
see on v. 17. For he maketh, render who maketh. 

24. Render with marg. : Scarce are they planted, scarce are 
they sown, scarce hath their stock taken root in the earth, when 
he bloweth, etc. 

their stocky The same word as "stem" in ch. xi. i, but in a 
diiTerent sense. See the note there. 

25. 26 form the peroration of a passage of striking elevation. 
The writer makes a final appeal to the imagination of his audience 
by pointing to the nightly pageant of the starry hosts mustered at 
the command of Him who is Jehovah of Hosts. 

25. To whom then...] Exactly as in w. 18, and following a 
similar idea. 

the Holy One] Kddosh, without the art., almost like a proper 
name. So Jojp vi. 10; Hab. iii. 3 ; and perhaps Ps. xxii. 3. 

26. and see who hath created] Better as marg. : and see : 
who hath created these? The word "create" occurs fi fteen 
ti mes in ch. xl. — Iv . and five times in the chapters which foll ow ; 
perhaps not more than nine times m the whole~of the earlier 

1} iSAIAII XL. 26, i-] 

hath created these, tliat bringeth out their host by 
nuinber: he calleth them all b}' name; by the greatness 
of his might, and for that he is strong in power, not one 
is lacking. 
7 Why sayest thou, Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, 
My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgement is 

literature. No other language possesses a word so exclusively 
appropriated to the divine activity. Although it may not 
express the metaphysical idea of creation ex nihilo, it certainly 
denotes the effortless production, by a bare volition, which is 
the manner of God's working. Its frequent use in these chapters 
is significant not only of the writer's theology, but of the great 
movement of religious thought in Israel about the time of the 
Captivity. See Introd. pp. xx f., 1 ff. 

these] i.e. "these (stars) yonder" which you see when you lift 
your eyes on high. The stars are likened to a great armj^, a host 
• of living, intelligent beings, which every night Jehovah marshals 
and leads across the sky. 

that bringeth out] He who bringeth out : a participial clause 
like those of vv. 22 f. 

he calleth... name] Better: calling them all by name, i.e. not 
" bestowing names on them," but calling each forth bj- his name. 
Cf. Ps. cxlvii. 4, 5. 

by the greatness... lacking] Render as a single sentence: 
Before One so great in might and strong in power — not one is 
missing; none dares to leave its post vacant v.lien it hears the 
summons of the Almighty. A slight change of pointing {nierab 
for merob) seems necessary to make the epithet "great in might" 
correspond wath "strong in power." For the latter cf. Job 
ix. 4. 

27 — 31 . The prophet now turns to his own people, drawing the 
lesson of hope and encouragement which lies in the true doctrine 
of God. Jehovah, whom Israel still calls "my God" (v. i"]), is 
• eternal and unchangeable, of infinite power and discernment (28), 
and an inexhaustible source of strength to those who have none 
in themselves (29), if only they will wait on Him in faith (31). 

27. My way] i.e. my path through life, my circumstances, my 
lot (Ps. xxxvii. 5 ; Jer. x. 23). Israel feels that its adverse lot is 
overlooked or ignored by Jehovah ; far harder is the complaint 
of Job (iii. 23) that God Himself has hidden his way, setting a 
hedge across it. 

my judgement... God}^ my right passes from my 'God, — escapes 
His notice. In all its consciousness of guilt before God, the 
nation retained the conviction of having "right" on its side 
against its oppressors. 

ISAIAH XL. 27—31 15 

passed away from m\' God? Hast thou not known? 28 
hast thou not heard? ^the everlasting God, the Lord, 
the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither 
is weary; there is no searching of his understanding. 
He giveth power to the faint ,- and to him that hath no 29 
might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall 30 
faint and be wear^^ and the young men shall utterly 
fall : but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their 31 
strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; 
they shall run, and not be weary ; they shall walk, and 
not faint. 

1 Or, the Lord is an everlasting God, the Creator... he fainteth 
not &c. 

28. the everlasting God, the Lord] Better : An everlasting 
God is Jehovah. He fainteth not] A new sentence. 

there is no searching...] Human insight fails to comprehend 
the inscrutable wisdom with which Jehovah guides the destinies 
of His people. Compare Cowper's 

Deep in unfathomable mines 

Of never-failing skill 
He treasures up His bright designs, 
And works His sovereign will. 
29 should be joined in one verse with the last two lines of 
V. 28. Not only is Jehovah never wear^-, but He gives strength 
to them who are weary. 

30. Even the youths shall faint...] Better: And though youths 
faint and are weary, and choice young men stumble (the protasis 
to V. 31). Natural strength at its best is soon exhausted, but — 

31. they that wait upon the Lord shall acquire new strength: 
lit. "exchange strength," of. ch. ix. 10. 

mount up with ivijigs] although an excellent sense, is doubtful 
grammatically. The authorities are divided between the Targ. 
on the one hand, and LXX. and Vulg. on the other. The former 
has "lift up (their) wings" ; the latter "put forth (lit. "cause to 
grow" : cf. Jer. xxx. 17, xxxiii. 6) pinions" (LXX. irTepocpvricrovffiij). 
The second is by far the best. An allusion to the popular notion 
that the eagle renews his feathers in his old age (Cheyne) is not 
probable ; it is even doubtful if the idea of renewal is in the 
metaphor at all. It is rather a description (and a very fine one) 
of the new kind of life which comes to him who waits on the Lord ; 
he is borne aloft on wings of faith and hope. 

as eagles] On the view of the metaphor given above, this must 
mean "wings like those of eagles"; the comparison being only 
in the noun, and not the verb. 

i6 ISAIAH Xl.l. 

Ch. XLI. The appearance of the Conqueror Cyrus, a 


The prophet here touches the soil of contemporary history. 
Although he is more of a theologian than earhcr prophets, he is 
nevertheless like them an interpreter to Israel of the signs of 
the times, and the great historical fact which was the occasion 
of his message is the rise of the new Persian Power. The victories 
of Cyrus have already challenged the attention of the world. 
He conquered Media in 550; he overthrew Croesus, king of 
Lydia, in 546. and captured Babylon in 539. The standpoint 
of the prophecy is obviously somewhere in this career of conquest, 
certainly subsequent to 530, when the Medo-Persian empire was 
consolidated, and most probably subsequent to the defeat of 
Croesus in 546, the most signal success of Cyrus prior to the 
occupation of Babylon, which of course is still in the future. 
See Introd. pp. x\ ii, xx.v\' f 

In form the chapter is dramatic. Two great debates are 
imagined: the first {vv. i — 7) between Jehovah and the nations; 
the second {vv. 21 — 29) between Jehovah and the idols, the 
subject of both being the appearance of Cyrus. In the inter- 
vening passage {vv. 8 — 20) Jehovah encourages. His servant 
Israel in view of this great crisis of history. 

The chapter accordingly may be analysed as follows : 

i. vv. I — 7. The proof of Jehovah's sovereignty in the form 
of a discussion between Him and the nations. 

(i) vv. I — 4. The nations are summoned into the presence 
of Jehovah, that it may be seen whether they can produce an 
explanation of the rise of Cyrus ( i ). The problem is propounded : 
who has raised him up? who is leading him from victory to 
victory? (2 f.); to which the answer follows in the end of 

"• 4- 

(2) vv. 5 — 7. In their consternation the nations are repre- 
sented as betaking themselves to the fabrication of new (or the 
repair of old) idols to reassure themselves against the advance of 
the conqueror. (This is the idea suggested by the text as at 
present arranged, but see the notes below.) 

ii. vv. 8 — 20. Turning from the nations, Jeho\'ah addresses 
Israel with words of encouragement and consolation. 

(i) vv. 8 — 10. Israel is Jehovah's servant or client, chosen in 
the person of Abraham to be the organ of the true religion, and 
never since cast off ; hence it is upheld through all its history by 
the strength of its Almighty Protector. 

(2) vv. II — 16. Israel need not fear (in the coming con- 
vulsions) for by the help of Jehovah it shall put to shame all its 
enemies, and annihilate mountains of opposition. 


Keep silence before me, O islands ; and let the peoples 41 
renew their strength; let them come near; then let 
them speak: let us come near together to judgement. 

(3) vv. 17 — 20. But Israel, in the distress and misery of the 
Exile, needs first of all refreshment ; and this shall be abundantly 
and miraculously provided. The figures are suggested by the 
thirsty march through the desert; but, as in ch. xl. 3 f., the 
material becomes a symbol of the spiritual, — of Jehovah's all- 
sufiicient grace for the needs of His people. 

iii. vv. 21—29. The argument for Jehovah's divinity is 
resumed; but this time the parties to the debate are. the true 
God and the idols. 

(i) vv. 21 — 24. The question is first stated in general terms: 
what proof can the false gods produce of their own divinity? 
Has any articulate prediction of theirs anticipated the great 
events that are happening? Or will they now undertake to 
foretell the issue of those events? They cannot; and their 
pretensions are dismissed as unworthy of serious consideration. 

(2) vv. 25 — 29. Then the appearance of Cyrus is adduced as 
an instance in which they might have been expected to exercise 
the divine function of foreknowledge. But while Jehovah has 
called and strengthened Cyrus and announced it beforehand, they 
have not even foreseen that He would do so. 

1. Jehovah's summons to the nations. 

Keep silence before me] A pregnant constr. in the Heb. = Listen 
in silence unto me. On islands, see on ch. xl. 15. 

renew their strength'] The words are somewhat suspicious, as 
they are repeated from ch. xl. 31, and the thought is hardly suit- 
able at the beginning of an argument. Job xxxviii. 3 is not an 
exact parallel. Possibly the eye of a scribe may have wandered 
to the previous verse. Condamin (pp. 247, 256) maintains that 
the repetition is a proof of the genuineness of the phrase, in 
virtue of a law of "concatenation" which he thinks characteristic 
of xl. I — xli. 29; but the instances cited by him seem insufficient 
to establish such a law. Of emendations proposed the simplest 
is perhaps Duhm's '•np: •1'Pn;i (for HD ID"'?!!''), "wait before me." 

judgement] {mishpdf) is used in the same sense as in Mai. iii. 5, 
etc. (= "judicial process"). Cf. Jud. iv. 5. 

2, 3. The subject of debate is now announced, viz. the 
meteoric career of Cyrus, which is vividly described in highly 
poetic hyperbolical language. That the reference is to Cyrus 
^who is first named in ch. xliv. 28) is unquestionable; although 
the Jewish exegetes (with the exception of Ibn Ezra), and even 
Calvin, follow the Targ. in applying the verses to Abraham, and 
his victory over the four kings (Gen. xiv.). This untenable view 
was perhaps suggested by y. 8. 



2 Who hath raised iij) one from tlie east, Uvhom he calleth 
in rif^'hteousness to his foot? lie givcth nations before 
him. and maketh him rule over kings; '-^he givetli them 
as the dust to his sword, as the (hiven stul^blc to his l)o\v. 

' Or, whom rif^hlcousncss calleth to its foot Or, whom righteousness 
meetcth whithersoever he goeth 

* Or, he maketh as the dust their sword, as the driven stubble their 

2. H 7)0 hath rOUSid up. ..foot?'] A VT 'y rliffimlt <;pnfenrp; 
Two poi nts may bc~rcp;arded as sfittlo H- (i) that the abstract 
iiouil ki!de'k cannot be _re.nflf"rprl "^ghtoQUi^ 'Ilii." " (A.V. following 

V ''^T: ^"'^' {'') ^'^^^ vf j<^nr>t tn Ui- Irf.ilcd -T^ ril_) j_to^'_r ( > u scd U p ' ' 

(A. v., LXX., Vulg.JT'but belongs, both metrically and' by the 
Heb. accentuation, to the second member of the sentence. The 
three renderings given in K.V. and marg. rightly agree in taking 
the second member as a relative object-clause governed by the 
verb "roused up." (a) R\__cnj^tTue':\^uidek as adv. ace. : " Toncl 
w hom he (i.e. Teho v ah) calleth in righteousn_£as to his foot. ' 
This is a perfectly good sense, and may be defended by the 
analogy of xlii. 6, xlv. 13. But in these passag^es the prep, "in" 
is expressed; and the adverbial use of zed£ harcL_tf.>- jn-Htify- 
Moreover, the rendering anticipates the answer to the main 
question as already known, (b) The first marg. makes zedek 
subj. of the subordinate claus e : " wTTonTjighteousne^s calleth 
to -its" foot ,^'-^a personification of righteousness without parallel 
in II Isaiah. (c) The second marg.: "whom righteousness 
(better, right) mecteth whithersoever he goeth " (or, at every step : 
lit. "at his foot"; ci. Gen. xxx. 30), is on the whole the most 
satisfactory translation. The ^/erhs f or "mil" (><'yi) and 
" meet "_( HI'S) -closely j:esembl£_each^ other, a nd thei r forms are 
constautl^-Lnieidiaaged. A more debatea ble point is the sense 
as signed tQ -S.ed£k. In this connexi on it must mean "jig^ht^' as 
es tablished bv the ordeal of battle, i.e. "victory" o r "success." 
It is a^somew'h^ ejictrenie jieyeloprnent of the idea of righteous- 
ness ; still it is in the line of this prophet's characteristic use of 
the term, and may therefore be accepted. 

and maketh... kings] Render: and subdueth kings [at his feet ?] ; 
reading TT (as xlv. i) for the inadmissible "IT, and adding 
V^j"]*?, or some such expression, to complete the metrical line. 

he giveth them as the dust to his sword] The words would 
strictly read, "he maketh his sword as dust." But this is an 
impossible idea; we must either with the LXX. change the* 
suffix to plur., he maketh their sword as dust; or, with a. cha.nge 
in the verb (□jri'll), take "his sword" as subj., and read his, 
sword makes them as dust. So in the next clause : eitlier their 


He pursueth them, and passeth on safely ; even by a 3 
way that he had not gone with his feet. Who hath 4 
wrought and done it, calhng the generations from the 
beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last, 
I am he. The isles saw, and feared; the ends of the 5 
earth trembled ; they drew near, and came. They 6 
helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to 

bow as driven stubble, or his bow (niaketh them) as driven 
stubble. The second alternative is preferable. 

3. by a way... feet] The easiest and most acceptable rendering 
is : the path with his feet he does not tread, — a picture of the 
celerity of his movements (Dan. viii. 5). Other interpretations, 
such as: "by a path which he had not gone (before) with his 
feet," or, "disdaining made roads," or "not returning on his 
tracks," are forced, if not impossible. 

4. The question repeated and answered. 

calling the generations from the beginning'] i.e. guiding the 
destinies of the nations from the origin of human history. The 
clause should be connected witli what follows : it belongs to the 
answer, not to the question : He that calleth. 

/ am he] A frequent expression in this prophecy for Jehovah's 
consciousness of His own eternity; best rendered I am. Cf. 
ch. xliii. 10, 13, xlvi. 4, xlviii. 12, also Ps. cii. 27. There is 
probably an allusion to the explanation of the name Jehovah 
in Ex. iii. 13 ff. Jfihovah js_ ^he First." e x'sfirig hpfnrp hititor;^ 
began to run its course, and He is "with th e last." an ever-pr esent. 
u n chrsngin^_G(2d '. • 

5 — 7 seem to form a distinct section, describing the effect on 
the nation s^ oflfhe~appearance of Cvru s. Duhm and others get 
ri d of them by placin g_ jffl. 6 f . after x I._ij9_(aee_abo ve p. 1 1 ), 
and removin g f . 5 as ^^^aw kward attempt t o connect" the mis- 
placed verses with vv. i — 4. But v. 5 excites no suspicion; and 
the transposition, though adopted in nearly all recent comm., is 
not altogether convincing. There is nothing in ch. xl. to account 
for the excitement under which the work is here carried on ; and 
there is a loss of artistic balance in the overwrought description 
of the metal image as compared w ith that of the wooden. On the 
other hand it must be admitted that the vv. do not read well 
where they stand. The transition from an assembly of peoples 
to the interior of an idol factory is abrupt and unmediated ; and 
the idea that the heathen nations would fortify their courage by 
making "a particularly good and strong set of gods" is perhaps 
a little farfetched. It is possiJDle jthat JiUL^5_i— are-in-the-main 
original^ while i;. 7 is a prosaic and mistaken elaborat i on of the 
Hdzak ! of V. 6. ' 

6f. They helped] i.e. the nations. But if the verse stood 

20 ISAIAH XLl. 6, 7 

• liis brother, Be of good courage. So the carpenter en- 
cDuragod tlio goldsmith, and he that smootlieth with the 
hammer liim that smitetli the amil, saying of the solder- 
ing, It is good : and he fastened it with nails, that it 
should not be mo\'ed. 

originally after xl. 19, " they " refers to the two classes of workmen 
there mentioned. Each helps the other, and says to his fellow. 
Cheer up! 

7. the carpenter] stands here for the same word as workman 
in xl. 19: it denotes an "artificer" either in metal or wood or 
stone (cf. xliv. 12 with 13). 

he that smoolheth with the hammer] Probably (if t?ie word for 
"smootheth" be right) the man who fits on the golden covering 
(xl. 19). It would seem, however, from Jer. xxiii. 29, 1. 23, that 
the patlish was a heavy sledge-hammer; hence Ehrlich proposes 
to read p'TPlD for p'pilO : "he that wields the hammer." The 
translation anvil is also doubtful; the Targ. has "him that 
striketh with the mailet." 

the soldering may be that which unites the edges of the gold 
plates ; but it is impossible to say. that it shoilld not be 

moved] See ch. xl. 20. 

Z^^-20, coming bet ween di;. i — 4and2i if., r eads like a digression 
Qx aii^^aside." But beneath the apparent disconnectedncssTKere 
is a real continuity of thought running through the chapter. It 
opens with a discussion between Jehovah and the nations, and 
closes with another between Jehovah and the heathen gods. But 
these ideal representations have no reahty except in so far as 
they take concrete form in history ; and the historical process of 
wliich they are the expression is suggested by vv. 8 — 20. Jehovah's 
controversy with heathenism is carried on in His Providence, and 
especially in His vindication of the "right" of Israel against the 
world. The opposition which Israel encountersirom the heathen 
[vv. II fi.) is p rpflpvinn nf the antagojiisur betweexL- thc-iruc 
religion and__idolatry ; and the essential identity of _interest 
between Jehova lTand Isr ael in this conflict of principles is the 
basis ot the~fnessage of consolation which these verses XDnvey. 
TTTus we haye^fjie f ru& tiDd^antTHis pcii].]. i,\ ' r .naiost-the -false 
gocfs and their peoples, and there is a titrv - ni tl^- intro duction 
at tTIis point of TsraertnTtStdBalTunctw^ the organ of Jehovah's 
historical purpose. His^victory^must issue in the redemption of 
His people, and therefore Israel has no reason to fear the advance 
of Cyrus, who is God's chosen instrument for the overthrow of 

8 — 10. Israel the chosen people anrl "servant" of Jehovah 
is assured of His succour and protection in the coming world- 

ISAIAH XLI. 8— lo 21 

But thou, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have 8 
chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend ; thou whom g 
I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and 
called thee from the corners thereof, and said unto thee, 
Thou art my ser^^ant, I have chosen thee and not cast 
thee away; fear thou not, for I am with thee; ^be not lo 
dismayed, for I am thy God : I will strengthen thee ; 
yea, 1 will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the 

^ Or, look not around thee 

8. But thou, Israel] In opposition to the other peoples (v. i). 
my servanf] Cf. Jer. xxx. lo f., xlvi. 27 f. ; Ezek. xxviii. 25, 

xxxvii. 25. The title is used in its simplest and widest sense, 
being applied to the nation as a whole, although of course in its 
ideal aspect, as it exists in the mind of Jehovah. The idea, 
however, is already a complex one, although the writer does not 
as yet analyse it into its different elements. (See Introduction, 
pp. Ivi ff.) The one fact emphasised in this passage is the irrevoc- 
able choice or election of God, by which Israel was from its origin 
in Abraham constituted His servant. Cf. ch. xliii. 10, xliv. i f., 
xlix. 7. 

seed of Abraham my friend'] (cf. 2 Chr. xx. 7) lit. "my lover": 
but as Duhm i-emarks Heb. has no single word to express the 
reciprocal relation of friendship as distinct from companionship. 
Cf. James ii. 23, ^iXos Beov €K\r]Orj. So among the Mohammedans, 
Abraham is designated chalil iillah, "Friend of God." 

9. taken hold of from the ends of the earth'] It is disputed 
whether the reference is to the call of Abraham, or^to the Exodus. 
It is a little difficult to suppose that Egypt could be described 
as the "ends of the earth" by a Jew; for although the writer 
may have lived in Babylonia, he could hardly divest himself of 
the historic consciousness of his nation, that Egypt was the 
neighbour of Israel. It is more probable, therefore, that he is 
thinking of Mesopotamia, and of the choice of Israel as effected 
in the call of Abraham. Note that Abraham is called "my 
servant" in Gen. xxvi. 24 ^ Ps. cv. 6, 42. 

corners] Lit. "side-portions." The word occurs only here, and 
is not to be confounded (as in A.V. "chief men") with that 
rendered "nobles" in Ex. xxiv. 11. 

cast thee away] rejected thee — because of thy smallness. 

10. fear thou not] Comp. v. 13, xliii. i, 5, xliv. 2 (xli. 14, 
liv. 4), also Jer. xlvi. 27 f. 

be not dismayed] Lit. "look not round" in terror. 

/ 'Will strengthen, etc.] The perf. tenses used in the original 
express the unalterable determination of the speaker's will; 
Driver, Tenses, § 13. 

2 2 ISAIAH XLl. 10—14 

11 right liaml of ni>- riglitcousness. Behold, all they that 
arc incensed against thee shall be ashamed and con- 
founded : they that strive with thee shall be as nothing, 

12 and shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not 
hnd them, even them that contend with thee: they that 
war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of 

13 nought. For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right 

14 hand, saving unto thee. Fear not ; I will help thee. Fear 
not, thou woiTn Jacob, and ye men of Israel ; 1 will help 

the right hand of my righteousness] Either "my righteous right 
hand," or, "my right hand of righteousness." 

11 — 16. A marked change of metre (to the so-called elegiac 
rhytlim) shews that these verses form a distinct section, which 
may be subdivided into three stanzas of two verses each. The 
theme is Israel's victory over its enemies. Marti is disposed to 
question the genuineness of the poem, on the ground that 
II. Isaiah never speaks of Israel as overpowering its enemies by 
armed force. That is true ; but it is doubtful if even here the 
writer contemplates more than a moral victory of Israel — a 
confutation of its adversaries ("they .shall be ashamed") through 
the impression which Jehovah's power makes upon them. 

11,12. incensed] Lit. "inflamed," as in ch. xlv. 24 ; Cant. i. 6. 
The precise form occurs only in these passages. 

they that strive... them that contend... they that war] Lit. men of 
thy contention... strife... warfare ; a climax which Dehtzsch 
renders by adversarii, inimici, hostes. These expressions are 
emphatic and stand at the end of their respective clauses, and 
to each are attached two (logical) predicates. To bring out the 
rhythm of the tetrastich we should render as follows : 

Behold they shall be ashamed and confounded — • 

all that are inflamed against thee; 
They shall be as nought and perish — 

the men who contend with thee; 
Thou Shalt seek them and not find them^ 

the men who strive with thee; 
They shall be as nought and nothingness — • 
the men who war with thee. 
13, 14. will hold.. .will help] am holding... do help. For 
saying render: I who say. 

thou worm Jacob] Cf. Ps. xxii. 6 ; Job xxv. 6. ye men of 
Israel] supplies a very weak parallel. It is generally taken as an 
elUpsis for " ye few men of I." (as if it were "ISDD TIO, Oen. xxxiv. 
30, etc.), but that would have to be expressed. We should prob- 
ably read with Ewald "thou small worm Israel" (nCl for TID)*; 

ISAIAH XLI. 14—16 23 

thee, saith the Lord, and ^thy redeemer is the Holy One 
of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing 15 
instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the moun- 
tains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hihs as 
chaff. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry 16 
them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them : and 
thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, thou shalt glory in the 

^ Or, thy redeemer, the Holy One &c. 

the two words for "worm" occur together in Job xxv. 6 and also 
in ch. xiv. 11. 

, and thy redeemer is the Holy One of Israel] Metre demands a 
different division of clauses, and probably the excision of "saith 
the Lord" in the previous half-line (Duhm). With a slight 
additional change we may render: 

I do help thee, thy Redeemer — Israel's Holy One. 

The word for "redeemer" is Go'el, the technical term for the 
person charged with the duty of buying back the alienated 
property of a kinsman, of avenging his death, and certain other 
obligations (see Lev. xxv. 48 f. ; Num. xxxv. 19 ff. ; Ruth iii. 
12, etc.). It is a standing title of Jehovah in the latter part of 
Isaiah, occurring in 12 passages (the corresponding verb in 6 
others). The verb means originally to assert a right by purchase : 
hence fig. to reclaim, rescue, etc.; Driver, Introduction^, p. 418. 

15, 16. Israel itself, in the might of Jehovah, shall be the 
means of crushing and scattering its foes. The idea, however, 
is not that of warlike conquest on the part of the Israelites, it is 
simply that in the contest Israel is as the threshing instrument to 
the corn ; it is armed with an irresistible strength. 

15. Th e threshing instrument (mordg) is a heavy sledge stud ded 
on its^under surface withjsjiarp stones or kn ives, drawn by o xen 
overJ;he_flQor. See the ^ottTinDnveVsJ^'el and Amos, pp. 227 f. 
It is not a different i_m]3leirLent_inini_ J:he hdruz of ch. x.xviii. 27. 
Indeed this word hdruz is the one here translated "sharp" ; and 
it has doubtless intnided into ihe text-as-a-A^ar-iafrt to mordg 
(Duhm). The instrument to which Israel is likened is "new" 
and "many-toothed" (lit. "possessor of mouths," i.e. edges), 
therefore in the highest state of efficiency. 

the mountains... the hills] A figure for formidable enemies; 
perhaps also for obstacles in general. Comp. ch. xxi. 10 ; Mic. 
iv. 13. 

17 — 20. A new section, marked by a reversion to the prevalent 
rhythm of the prophecy (trimeter distichs). With great pathos 
the prophet recalls to mind the miserable condition of Israel in 
the present, and adapts his glorious promise to the people's sense of 
need. He is thus led on to a glowing description of the marvels 

J., ISAIAH XLI. i(>— 19 

1 7 Holy One of Israel. The poor and needy seek water and 
there is none." and their tongue faileth for thirst; I the 
Lord will answer them, I the God of Israel will not 

IS forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, 
and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make 
the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs 

19 of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the 
acacia tree, and the myrtle, and the ^ oil tree ; I will set 
in the desert the fir tree, the ^pine, and the ^box tree 

' Or, oleaster - Or, plane ' Or, cypres<; 

of the desert journey, in wliich a spiritual meaning is not lost 
sight of. It is instructive, however, to observe how the spiritual 
merges into the material in the prophet's imagination. The 
description of the people's need is obviously figurative, but the 
satisfaction of that need takes the form of a literal creation of 
waters and a luxurious vegetation in the desert. So again in 
ch. Iv. 

17. The poor. . .] Better : The afflicted and needy seeking water 
when there is none, their tongue parched with thirst ! It may 
be a question wliether such a description applies to all the exiles, 
or only to those, the true Israel, who were conscious of the 
religious privations of the Captivity. 

18. Cf. ch. XXX. 25. on the bare heights] The word occurs 
only in ch. xlix. 9 and in Jeremiah (iii. 2, etc.). In Num. xxiii. 3 
the text is doubtful. 

a pool of water] Read : pools (□"■DJX for D'0"D3X : xlii. 15). 

19. The desert itself shall be transformed into a grove of 
stately and beautiful trees. J Kill plant] Better: I will place. 
The myrtle is only mentioned in exihc and post-exilic writings; 
ch. Iv. 13; Zech. i. 8, 10 f . ; 'Xeh. viii. 15. 

the oil tree] Not the olive, but the oleaster or wild olive (marg.). 

the fir tree] Rather: the cypress (marg.). With regard to the 
last two of the seven trees there is no sure tradition. The first 
(tidhar) is identified by different authorities with the fir, the elm 
and the plane. The other (te'asshur)- is according to some the 
box-tree, according to others a species of cedar, probably the 
sherbin-tree of the Arabs {cypressus oxycedrus). The names 
occur again onlj- in ch. Ix. 13 ; the last, however, is also disguised 
in a corrupt reading in Ezek. xxvii. 6. . 

20. The ultimate object of this miracle is the demonstration 
of the creative power of the true God; see ch. xl. 5, Iv. 13. The 
verse seems to shew that the previous description is not merely 
figurative, but that an actual physical transformation of the 
desert is contemplated. 

ISAIAH XLI. 19—22 25 . 

together : that they may see, and know, and consider, 20 
and understand together, that the hand of the Lord 
hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it. 

Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth 2 r 
your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them 22 
bring them forth, and declare unto us what shall happen : 
declare ye the former things, what they be, that we may 
consider them, and know the latter end of them ; or 

that they (men in general) may... consider'] Lit. "lay (to heart)," 
a common ellipsis, together binds the four verbs of the sen- 

21 — 24. The argument of vv. i — 4 is resumed, but now the 
idols (v. 23), not their worshippers, are addressed. Foreknow- 
ledge is the test of divinity. Can the idols produce any instance 
whatever of their power to predict, or indeed any proof of life 
and activity at all? 

21. your strong reasons'] Lit. "your strengths," a military 
metaphor transferred to controversy; cf. Job xiii. 12. The 
related word 'isma is used in the same way in Arabic. Some 
would read DD^3i'L' instead of DDTll^DVy: "your idols"; but the 
parallelism is against this. 

the King of Jacob] (cf. ch. xliii. 15, xliv. 6) referring back, 
perhaps, to vv. 8 f., — the King whose "servant" Jacob is. 

22. bring them forth, and declare] It is assumed that the 
"strong arguments" must be predictions. 

the former things] The expression [ri'shdnoth) occurs with 
great frequency in chh. xl. — xlviii. Sometimes it appears to be 
n.sed qnitp gpn erallv of past events whether predicted or not 
(xliii. 18, xlvi 9) • h ntTn other r ases (especially with the art., 
as here) it has a definite reference to certain recent events pre- 
di cted by Jehovah (.xliii. 9), as contrasted with "new things" 
(xhi. 9, xlviii. 3 [6]) or "things to come" (xli. 22), i.e. events also 
predicted but not yet come to. pass. It would seem that the 
ri'shdnoth are the series of events connected with the rise of 
Cyrus, while the "new things" include the restoration of Israel 
and the revelation of the final glory, which are still hid in the 
womb of the future. See further on xlii. 9. Hence the challenge 
of the sentence before us ("declare the former things what they 
be") may be paraphrased : "explain to us the nature of this new 
and recent event, the victorious career of Cyrus" — that we may 
know what to expect from it. There is no ground for the view 
of DeUtzsch and o'yiersjtJia44a--thia_i:exse__^fl^22!£^^HsM_refers to 
ev^ent^aslilLfuture, but in ^:h&immediate future, as opposed to the 
more remote future ("things to come"). 

the latter end of them] their issue. Sense and parallelism are 

' 2f^ ISAIAH XLr. 22—23 

23 shew us tilings for to come. Declare the things tluit arc 
to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods : 
yea, do good, or do evil, that we may ^bc dismayed, and 

24 behold it together. Behold, ye are of nothing, and your 
work of nought : an abomination is he that chooseth you. 

25 I have raised up one from the north, and he is come; 
from the rising of the sun one that calleth upon my 

' Or, look one upon another 

undoubtedly improved if (with Duhm) we transpose the last two 
clauses, reading tlic closing lines thus: 

the former things, what they are do ye announce, 

that we may lay it to heart; 

or the coming things let us hear, 

that we may know their issue. 
28. do good, or do evil] i.e. "do anything whatever, good or 
bad" (Jer. x. 5; Zeph. i. 12), give any sign of vitality or intelli- 

that we may he dismayed] Rather: that we may stare (in 
astonishment). (The same word in v. 10.) 

24. The silence of the idols settles the controversy. 

of nothing.. .of nought] See on ch. xl. 17. The word 'epha' 
here is probably a copyist's error for 'ephes. 

he that chooseth you] — your worshipper. 

25 — 29. The argument is now brought to bear explicitly on 
the particular case of the raising up of Cyrus. 

25. raised up] Strictly: roused up (as in v. 2), i.e. "impelled 
into activity" (Driver). 

from the north. ..from the rising of the sun (cf. v. 2)] Scarcely: 
" from Media (in the northV and " from Elam (in the east)." The 
terms are poetic ; the north is the region of mystery, and the east 
the region of light (ch. xxiv. 15). In point of fact Cyrus came 
from the north-east. 

one that calleth (or, shall ca\l) upon my name] The clause is a 
relative one, and forms the obj. to "roused up." The expression 
can hardly mean less than that Cyras shall acknowledge Jehovah 
as God; the meaning "make known everywhere, by his deeds" 
(Dillmann) is not to be defended. It is true that in ch. xlv. 4 f. 
it is said that Cyrus had not known Jehovah ; but it is also said 
{v. 3) that the effect of his remarkable successes will be " that thou 
mayest know that I am Jehovah that calleth thee by thy name, the 
God of Israel." There is therefore no difficulty in the idea that 
Cyrus, who was at first the unconscious instrument of Jehovah's 
purpose, shall at length recognise that Jehovah was the true 
author of his success. But the further explanation that Cyrus 
shall "become conscious of his original rehgious affinity to the 

ISAIAH XLI. 25—29 27 

name: and he shall come upon ^rulers as upon mortar, 
and as the potter treadeth cla}^ Who hath declared it 26 
from the beginning, that we may know ? and beforetime, 
that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none 
that declareth, yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, 
there is none that heareth your words. / first will say 27 
unto Zion, Behold, behold them ; and I will give to 
Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings. And when 28 
I look, there is no man ; even among them there is no 
counsellor, that, when I ask of them, can answer a word. 
2 Behold, all of them, their works are vanity and nought : 29 
their molten images are wind and confusion. 

^ Or, deputies 

^ Or, Behold, they are all vanity ; their works are nought 

Jews, and act upon that consciousness" (Cheyne), goes beyond the 
language of the prophet. 

come upon rulers'] is a possible construction ; but it is better, 
with most comm. since Clericus, to read " tread " {ydbiis ior ydho'). 
The word for "rulers" (sdgdn) is Assyrian (shaknu) and occurs 
first in Ezekiel. 

26. He is righteous'] He is in the right (cf. Ex. ix. 27); or, 
simply. Right! (cf. ch. xliii. 9), although the adj. is always used 
of persons, except in Deut. iv. 8 (of the divine ordinances). 

27. I first... behold them] A very perplexing sentence: lit. 
" A first one to Zion, Behold, behold them ! " The text is ob\iously 
corrupt, and none of the proposed emendations is satisfactory. 
Fortunately, the general sense is clear from the parallel line 
which follows. In any case there appears to be a reference back 
to ch. xl. 9 ff. ; and the idea will be that that prediction was the 
first authoritative declaration of the meaning of the appearance 
of Cyrus. 

one that bringeth good tidings] an evangelist (see ch. xl. 9). 

28. And when I look, there is no man] Better: And I loolied 
and there was, etc. For the form of the sentence cf. 1. 2, lix. 16, 
Ixiii. 3. even among them] and among these, viz. the idols; 
the previous clause referring to their worshippers. 

no counsellor] None who can advise in the present crisis. 

29. The last word of the argument. 

all of them] idols and worshippers together. 

their works] are the images of the gods, "the work of men's 
hands" (parallel to "molten images" below). 

confusion] "nothingness" — chaos (see ch. xl. 17). 


Ch. XLTI. Israel the Servant of Jehovah — Its 
future mission and present abasement. 

The two preceding chapters were to some extent intn^ductory 
to wliat follows. Nearly all tlie leading ideas of the prophecy 
liave been already expressed, and all the personages of the drama 

Jeho\ah, Israel, Cyrus, the nations and tlieir gods — have been 
brought upon the stage, or at least have been mentioned. With 
this chapter the prophet begins to amplify and develop the 
various conceptions, already touched upon, by means of which 
he is enabled to interpret the action of Jehovah in the present 
crisis of history. And the first which he takes up is the thought 
of Israel as Jehovah's Servant. Up to en. xliv. 23, that is the 
central and recurrent idea; in the end of that chapter the figure 
of Cyrus comes to the front, and the main theme to the end of 
ch. xhiii. is the deliverance from Babylon of which he is the 
agent. But the treatment is nowhere exhaustive ; and although 
the minor sections are usually distinct, sharply defined stages 
or advances in the general thought can hardly be found. The 
writer glides rapidly from one theme to another, frequently 
returning on his track ; and while .some conceptions are dropped 
as he proceeds, there are others, and these the most important, 
which run on to the close. 

In the view of many expositors, indeed, an entirely new person- 
age is introduced in the opening verses of this chapter, namely, 
the Servant of Jehovah, whom these writers hold to be distinct 
from Israel. It is at least true that if the Servant of vv. i — 4 be 
Israel, he is Israel in a new character, — not in its actual condition 
of bondage and spiritual inefficiency (see vv. 18 — 25), but in the 
light of its ideal calling and mission, now about to be realised in 
history. This ideal is personified, and the vividness of the 
personification naturally suggests an individual as the subject of 
portraiture. Such impressions, however, are not greatly to be 
trusted. The real question is whether the characteristics predi- 
cated of the Servant belong to the prophet's conception of Israel's 
divine mission in the world, or whether they are such as to demand 
a separate and personal embodiment. That is the deepest 
problem in the whole book, and it is only to be solved by paying 
the closest attention to the exegesis of the individual passages 
and the prophet's general scheme of thought. As supplementing 
the notes on vv. i — 4 below, see Introduction, pp. Ix ft., and 
Appendix, Note II. 

Ch. xlii. falls into four sections : 

i. vv. I — 9. The ideal calling and function of Israel. 

(i) vv. I — 4. A portrait of the Lord's Servant from the j^oint 
of view of Jehovah, who is the speaker. 


(2) vv. 5 — 7. The truth embodied in the portrait is held up 
as a ground of encouragement to Israel; Jehovah, as it were, 
pledges His righteousness to the fulfilment of the ideal in the 
experience of the people. • 

(3) uy. 8, 9. The promise is confirmed by a renewed assertion 
of the divinity of Jehovah, and appeal to the argument from 

ii. vv. 10 — 12. A lyrical outburst calling on the whole earth 
to rejoice in the God whose glory is about to be manifested in the 
great redemptive act which ushers in the final salvation of 

iii. vv. 13 — 17. Jehovah is represented as rousing Himself 
from His long inactivity, to bring about the redemption of His 
people, and the consequent overthrow of idolatry. 

iv. vv. 18 — 25. The prophet addresses himself to Israel 
in its present state of bhndness and wretchedness. He calls 
on the exiles to reflect on all that they have suffered at the 
hand of their God, and to recognise in it the effect of their 
obduracy and unfaithfulness to their calling, their misuse of 
religious privileges, and their positive transgressions of the law 
of Jehovah. 

1 — 4. The ideal Servant of the Lord. The features of the 
portrait are these: (i) Itstartsfrom the thought of ch. xli. 8ff., the 
election or choice of the Servant by Jehovah ; this is immediately 
followed by (2) the equipment of the Servant with the divine 
Spirit, and (3) the mission for which he is raised up, viz. to be 
the organ of the true rehgion to the world (v. i). (4) The manner 
and spirit of the Servant's working are then described ; his 
unobtrusiveness and tenderness {vv. 2f.)., (5) His unflinching 
constancy in the prosecution of his work, and (6) his final and 
complete success (v. 4). 

We have here the first of the four recognised " Ser\'ant poems." 
It is divided into three stanzas, each coasisting of two rhythmicaily 
regular and for the most part parallel distichs {vv. i; 2 + 3 a; 
36 + 4). Wliile neither in language nor in metrical structure 
are the SeiA^ant passages clearly distinguished from the rest of 
the book, there is yet a cer tain 1' tern pera.m en tal " difference 
between the su bdued concentration and artisti c rnmplpteness of 
thoug'llt in these twelve lines, and the more exuberant st rains 
whic h predommate in the Deutero-isaianic poe try. So much 
must be conceded to Duhm, even if we are not prepared to admit 
that the full harp of this prophet's genius was incapable of striking 
the note which vibrates in this passage. Thd* hypothesis of 
diverse authorship is one to be considered along with the other 
complex elements of the problem ; for the present it is enough to 
note the literary difference without basing any conclusions upon 

1. The election, equipment, and mission of the Servant. 

.^o ISAIAH XLII. 1—3 

42 Behold my servant, wlioni I uphold; my chosen, in 

whom m\- soul deliLjhteth : I have ])ut my sj)irit upon 

him; he shall bring forth jud.gement to the Ujentiles. 

:! He sh.ill not crC, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be 

j heard in tlic street. A bruised reed shall he not break, 

and the ''smoking flax shall he not quench : he shall 

* Or, nations (and elsewhere) - Or, dimly burning wick 

Behold my servant] LXX. reads 'lakLjfi 6 naU fxov ("Jacob my 
servant") and in the next hne, IffpavjX 6 hXfKrds fj.ov ("Israel my 
chosen"). This is an unauthorised addition; but interesting, as 
shewing how readily ancient readers identified the Servant with 
the nation. 

whom I uphold] Cf. ch. xli. lo. 

my chosen] Used of Israel ch. xliii. 20, xlv. 4; cf. the verb in 
xh. 8, etc. ; and Deut. vii. 7, etc. 

/ have put my spirit upon him] The Servant's function being 
prophetic, he is, like the prophets, endowed with the spirit of 
Jehovah. So of Israel ch. xliv. 3: Cf. ch. xi. 2 fi., where the 
Messiah is endowed with the .spirit for his royal functions. 

he shall bring forth (or, send forth) judgement to the nations] 
This is the ultimate purpose of the Servant's being raised up, — 
the diffusion of the true religion throughout the world. The word 
"judgement" (mishpdt) occurs three times in these few verses, 
and evidently in a special sense. It is used as in Jer. v. 4 f., 
viii. 7 (cf. ch. li. 4, and 2 Ki. xvii. 26: "the manner of the God of 
the land") of the conditions which regulate intercourse with 
Jehovah, i.e. the principles of true religion : these are known in 
Israel and shall be revealed to other nations through the 
missionary activity of the Servant. All recent commentators 
instance the close parallel to the Arabic din, which denotes both 
a ^'stem of usages and a religion. 

2. The Servant's unobtrusive manner of working. Not by 
clamorous self-assertion in the high places of the world, but by 
silent spiritual influences his great work shall be accomplished. 
Comp. the striking application in Matt. xii. 17 ff. This feature 
of the Ser\'ant's activity can hardly have been suggested by the 
demeanour of the prophets of Israel ; and for that reason the 
prophecy is all the more wonderful as a perception of the true 
conditions of spiritual influence. It reminds us of the "still 
small voice" in^which Ehjah was made to recognise the power of 
Jehovah (i Ki. xix. 12 f.). nor lift up] sc. his voice. 

3. His gentleness tow-ards the downtrodden expiring good in 

the smoking flax] Marg. the dimly burning wick. The 
metaphor (hke the preceding) involves a litotes : the meaning 

ISAIAH XLII. 3—5 31 

bring forth judgement in truth. He shall not ^fail nor 4 
be ^discouraged, till he have set judgement in the earth; 
and the isles shall wait for his law. Thus saith God the 5 
Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them 

' Or, burn dimly - Or, bruised 

is that instead of crushing the expiring elements of goodness he 
will strengthen and purify them. It is an interesting question 
whether these rudiments of religion are conceived as existing in 
the heathen world, or in the breasts of individual Israelites. The 
former view is no doubt that to which the national interpretation 
of the Servant most readily accommodates itself, and is also most 
in keeping with the scope of the passage as a whole. But in 
later sections a mission in and to Israel is undoubtedly assigned 
to the Servant, and a reference to that. here cannot be excluded. 
in truth] either faithfully, or in accordance with truth. 

4. His constancy. The words fail and be discouraged corre- 
spond in the original to "dimly burning" and "broken" (point 
^MT, niph. of T^*"l) ii^ ^- 3- (See marg.) The former is used of 
the failing eyesight of Eli (i Sam. iii. 2); cf. Ezek. xxi. 7 (R.V. 

for his law] his revelation (see on ch. i. 10) of the truth. It is 
doubtful whether the verb of this clause should be rendered 
"shall wait" or "do wait." If the latter be correct, the remark- 
able thought may be expressed that already the best of the 
heathen are dissatisfied with their religious systems and long 
for a purer faith. 

5 — 7. Jehovah's promise to Israel, based on the preceding 
description. The dependence of these verses on vv. i — 4 is now 
admitted even by Duhm^jwhoformerly thought that the Servant 
poem could be elimina^tjd^]wjt Hout'lrri lIiy~T:o^^^ context. He 
now IroKs that tliey were composed, in imitation of the style of 
II Isaiah, by the late editor or copyist who incorporated the 
Servant passages in the book. It is difficult to_ understand why 
a scribe who ex hypothesi inserted these poems "without regard 
to the_liejJLterihJLsai^nic_context," wherever he happene d to find 
enough vaQant _space jn the_ ^_ok,_^ouldJhaye^ bggH at tHe~pains 
to appg'ncl an Imitation of the style of the main docurnent. As 
a matter of fact the verses have every mark of II Isaiah's 
authorship. And since Il lsaiah undoubtedly regarded Israel as 
the SejuL ant of the Lord. tlTere is a strong presumption tha t he 
not only had the Servant poem betore hiiii, but identihed the 
subject of that poem in some way with the people of Israel. 

5. God the Loud] Jehovah the Deity (^^H) — He who alone 
is truly God, who has created and sustains all things. 

3Z ISAlAll XLIl. 5, 6 

forth; he that spread abroad the earth and that which 
Cometh out of it ; he that givcth breatli unto the people 
u})t)n it, and spirit to them that walk therein : I the 
Lord liave called thee in righteousness, and will hold 
thine hand, and will ^keep thee, and give thee for a 

^ Or, form 

spread abroad] Or, " made firm." Tlie word means to beat out 
into a thin surface, and probably (as in the noun "firmament") 
combines the ideas of density and extension (cf. ch. xliv. 24 ; 
Ps. cxxxvi. 6). By a strong zeugma this verb is made to govern 
a second object, that which cometh out of it, wliich here probably 
denotes "vegetation" (see on ch. xxxiv. i). 

breath and spirit are here nearly identical, the divine principle 
of life breathed into man at his creation ; Gen. ii. 7. 

6. called thee in righteousness] i.e. in accordance with a stedfast 
and consistent purpose. Cf. ch. xlv. 13. 

and will keep thee] Rather: have kept (point as vav convey.). 
The marg. ("form") derives the verb from a different root 
(iV' instead of ■^^^"); if this sense be taken, it is necessary to 
read the words in close connexion with what follows: "I have 
formed and appointed thee for a covenant, etc." 

for a covenant of the people] So again ch. xlix. 8 . The 
expression is very peculiar, and the idea difficult to analyse : the 
following remarks are only given as a tentative and approx imate 
exegesis. There are two questions: (i) What is the logical 
relation b^t^^s^o- the two terms — ll£i nvenanl-." _^a nd 'pe ople ' ' ? 
From tfie anal ogy of the paralle l phrase ("li ght of th e nations") 
we may infer th^f "pp^plp" f^ltiilii' ^finlivH fjoY^rift'^ by 
"c ovenant" : " a covenant of a (or the) people." I'urther, "people" 
can hardly be understood of humanity at large (even if that were 
a possible use of the word), because i n xlix. 8 the phfase is ay plied 
'''"'■'lllfliYPly ^" ^'^^ '^p^''-^'^^''- m^rrinn tn Tmol Now in the Only 
other two passages where the word occurs in II Isaiah {liv. 10, 
Iv. 3 [cf. lix. 21, Ixi. 8, and, with a difference, Ivi. 4 — 6]) the 
covenant (berith) means the indissoluble relationship of grace 
established by Jehovah with His people Israel. Jeremiah had 
already prophesied (xxxi. 31 ff.) that the future nationality of 
Israel would rest on a " new covenant," i.e. a new religious relation 
to Jehovah. It is not too bold a speculation that IJ Isaiah had 
this idea in his mind, and that what he here means is "the 
covenant in virtue of which Israel shall once more be restored as 

a nation." But (2) hnwr^in_rtL bf* 'iairl th:it thp Servant 7"c nr 

sh all be sach a covena nt? Theusual explanation is that "cove- 
nant" is equivalent to "mediator of a covenant"; and ii the 
Serv'ant be an individual, that is perhaps the best explanation 

. ISAIAH XLII. 6— q 33 

covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to 7 
open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the 
dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison 
house. I am the Lord ; that is ni}' name : and my 8 
glory will I not. give to another, neither my praise unto 
graven images. Behold, the former things are come to 9 
pass, and new things do I declare : before they spring 
forth I tell you of them. 

that can be given. But if the Servant represents the divine 
ideal which moulds the national life of Israel, another view 
suggests itself. The prophet's thought ma}' be that the Servant 
is that imperishable element or aspect of Israel which is the 
pemianent bond between Jehovah and His people, and which is 
destined to be embodied in a restored national existence. 

foY a light of the nations] The ultimate destiny of the Servant ; 
•see on f. I. 

7. to open... to bring out'] With this rendering the subj. of the 
two verbs may be either Jehovah or the Servant : "that I may..." 

or " that thou mayest " The inf., however, has often the sense 

of a gerund in do (Davidson, Synt. § 93) ; in which case the subj. 
is necessarily Jehovah Himself: opening blind eyes... bringing 
out, etc. This is perhaps the easier construction here ; but the 
same ambiguous idiom occurs in more difficult connexions 
(xlix. 5, 8, li. 16), and there is some, uncertainty as to its precise 
import. Blindness and imprisonment are metaphors for the 
Captivity; although a spiritual application may be included, 
and even a reference to the darkness of the heathen world. 

8, 9. A renewed assertion of Jehovah's sole Godhead, as > 
proved by the fulfilment of His word. The verses are taken by 
many critics as the original continuation (after omission of the 
Servant passage) of .xli. 21 — 29; and the points of contact are 
obvious. But in the first place xli. 29 requires no continuation, 
for the false gods are there contemptuously dismissed in the 
third person ; and secondly, if it did, a still better conclusion 
would be found in v. 17. The recurrence of an idea already 
dwelt upon is too frequent a phenomenon in II Isaiah to justify 
wholesale omission for the sake of continuity. 

8. my glory... another] (cf. ch. xlviii. 11) — the glory of true 
deity, which would be obscured if shared with other beings. 

9. the former things'] The things formerly predicted and now 
realised. The reference is to the appearing of Cyrus. The new 
things are the substance of the present prophecy, the exaltation 
of the Servant, the redemption of Israel, and the conversion 
of the heathen. (See Introd. p. xx.) 

before they spring forth^ Lit. "sprout." Cf. xliii. 19, Iv. 10 f. 


3^ ISM All XLll. lo— 12 

10 Sint; unto tho Lord a lU'W s()n{^^ and his i)i'aise 
from tlK> end of the earth; ye tliat go down to the 
sea. and all that is therein, the isles, and the inhabitants 

11 thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift 
np their voice, the \illages that Kedar doth inhabit ; 
let the inhabitants of Sela sing, let them shout from 

12 the toj") of the mountains. Let them give glory unto 

10 12. Tlic mention of "new things" in v. g suggests this 
" new song," in which the creation is called to celebrate Jehovah's 
glory. The expression is common in the Psalms (xxxiii. 3, xl. 3, 
xcvi. I, xcviii. i, cxliv. 9, cxlix. i ; cf. Rev. xiv. 3). These 
Psalniists probably borrowed the term from our prophet, whose 
use of it bears the stamp of originality. It is a song "such as 
has never been heard in the heathen world" (Delitzsch). See 
ch. xxiv. 14—16. It is possible that v. 13 belongs to the hymn, 
for the transition from creation to redemption is a common 
feature of the class of Psalms referred to; 'but its affinities seem' 
rather with the verses following. 

10. from the end of the cariJi] means (as in Gen. xix. 4; 
Jer. li. 31) "from end to end." 

ye that go down to the sea\ Cf. Ps. cvii. 23. There is some 
awkwardness in the following words : and all that is therein (lit. 
"and the fulness thereof"), wliich are naturally parallel to "the 
sea" and not to "those who go down to it." The harshness is 
removed by a plausible emendation of Lowth, who reads the 
whole clause in accordance with Ps. xcvi. 11, xcviii. 7, let the sea 
roar and the fulness thereof (Dri^ for ''"lli''). 

the isles] See on ch. xl. 15. 

11. the wilderness and the cities thereof] The "cities," like the 
" \inages " of the next line, are those in the oases, occupied by the 
settled Arabs ; the former are probably the great centres of the 
caravan trade, like Tadmor and Petra. Kedar (see on ch. xxi. 16) 
is sometimes referred to as a tribe of nomadic, tent-dwelling Arabs 
(Ps. cxx. 5 ; Cant. i. 5 ; Jer. xlix. 28 f.) ; here they are villagers, 
what the modem Arabs call hadariya (connected with the word 
hdzcr, used here) as opposed to the wabarlya or nomads (Delitzsch). 
In Jer. ii. 10 Kedar stands, as here, in opposition to the Mediter- 
ranean countries. 

the inhabitants of Sela] Render as A.V. of the rock, on account 
of the parallel " mountains." Sela would probably be Petra ; but 
this identification, in any O.T. passage, is resisted by many 
scholars (see on ch. xvi. i). 

sins] Rather, exult, — a different word at any rate from that 
used in v. 10. 

12. glory and praise: the same words as in z;. 8. 

ISAIAH XLII. 12—15 35 

the Lord, and declare his praise in the islands. The 13 
Lord shall go forth as a mighty man ; he shall stir 
up ^jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, he . 
shall shout aloud; he shall do mightily against his 
enemies. I have long time holden my peace; I have 14 
been still, and refrained myself : now will I cry out like 
a travailing woman; I will ^gasp and pant together. 
I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all 15 
their herbs ; and I will make the rivers islands, and will 

^ Or, zeal - Or, destroy and devour 

13 — 17. Jehovah takes the field against His enemies. The 
gracious side of His intervention is described in w. 16. 

13. The Lord shall go forth] The technical expression for the 
initiation of a campaign (2 Sam. xi. i ; Am. v. 3, etc.). 

as a mighty man (or, hero)... a man of war] Similar representa- 
tions in ch. xxviii. 21, lix. 16 f. ; Ex. xv. 3; Zech. xiv. 3, etc. 
Jealousy (better, zeal) means "passion" in very varied senses. 
Here it seems equivalent to the "battle fever." See ch. ^x. 7. 

he shall cry] raise His battle cry (i Sam. xvii. 20, etc.). 

shout aloud] shriek (Zeph. i. 14). 

he shall do mightily] Lit. he shall play the hero. The form 
occurs elsewhere only in Job (xv. 25, xxxvi. 9). 

14 f. Jehovah's battle-song. The passage, which obviously 
continues the figure oi v. 13, is exceedingly bold in its anthropo- 

14. / have long time holden my peace] Lit. " I have been 
silent from of old." The period of silence perhaps goes back 
further than the Exile ; it is the time during which Jehovah has 
permitted the oppression of His people by the heathen. 

I have been still] Lit. "been dumb"; but "still" expresses 
the idea better ; it is abstinence from action, not from speech, 
that is meant. ' 

refrained myself] Cf. Gen. xliii. 31, xlv. i. 

now will I cry out] The verb does not recur in the O.T. In 
Aramaic it is used of the bleating of sheep. Here it denotes the 
convulsive utterance of uncontrollable emotion, "like a travailing 

15. Jehovah's breath of anger will make the fairest and best 
watered regions an arid waste. Cf. ch. xl. 7, 24, and note the 
contrasted image in xli. 18 f. The verb 3''~l^^? probably means 
here "dry up," as in xxxvii. 25, li. 10, etc. For herbs, read 
herbage. The word islands is used in a peculiar and unnatural 
sense, of dry land as opposed to water. Possibly n*V, "parched 
land" (xxxv. i, etc.), should be substituted. 

3^ ISAIAH XLII. 13—17 

10 dry up the pools. And I will biint,' the blind by a way 
that they know not ; in paths that they know not will 

. I lead tiiem: I will make darkness light before them, 
and crooked places straight. These things will I do, 

17 ^and I will not forsake them. ITiey shall be turned 
back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven 
images, that say unto molten images. Ye are our gods. 

' Or, and will not forbear 

16. The prophet (influenced perhaps by the contrasted 
imagery of xli. 18, etc.) hastens on to the gracious issue of God's 
interposition, the homebringing of the captives through the 
trackless desert. 

the blind here are hardly the spiritually blind, those who cannot 
discern God's purpose (as v. 18); what is meant is that the 
travellers cannot see their path, just as the desert is the region 
of "darkness" because it has no track (cf. Jer. ii. 6, 31). 

crooked places a plain] (cf. ch. xl. 4). 

Th^se things... forsake thetn] Better: These are the things 
I have determined to do (perf. of resolution) and not leave undone. 
But the last expression is awkward. 

17. The confusion of the idolaters, through the " revelation of 
the glory of God" (ch. xl. 5), the Babylonians being those specially 
referred to (cf. ch. xlvi. i). 

they shall be utterly ashamed] (as ch. xli. 11). The emendation 
Iti'D*?' for VJ'2' is attractive : "they shall be clothed with shame" 

(Ps. XXXV. 26). 

18 — 25. We come now to a passage of striking pathos, and of 
profound interest for the light which it sheds on the conception 
of the Servant of the Lord. The Servant of v. 19, who is de- 
scribed as spiritually blind and deaf, and therefore altogether 
unfit for Jehovah's purpose, is expressly identified with the 
people of Israel (see vi'. 22, 24). The contrast to vv. i — 4, where 
the Servant is pourtrayed as the perfect and successful worker 
for God, is at first sight startling ; and the question is naturally 
raised whether the subjects of personification can be the same in 
the two cases, or even whether both portraits could have beer^ 
drawn by the same hand. We believe that both these questions 
may be answered in the affirmative. The solution of the diffi- 
culty lies in the distinction between the ideal calling of Israel, 
to be realised in the future, and its actual condition during the 
Exile. The former point of view is represented by vv. i — 4, where 
Jehovah is the speaker, and the Servant is described sub specie 
aeternitatis, as he exists to the divine mind and purpose. Nothing 
is there said to indicate that the Servant (Israel) is as yet conscious 

ISAIAH XLII. i8— 21 37 

Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. i8 
Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger 19 
that I send? who is blind as he that is ^at peace with 
me, and blind as the Lord's servant? Thou seest many 20 
things, but thou observest not ; his ears are open, but 
he heareth not. It pleased the Lord, for his righteous- 21 
ness' sake, to ^magnify the law, and make it honourable. 

^ Or, made perfect Or, recompensed 

- Or, make the teaching great and glorious 

of his mission or prepared to fulfil it. Hence it is no real con- 
tradiction to speak of the Servant (as is done in vv. 18 — 25) as 
at present blind to the meaning of his own history, and of Jehovah's 
providential dealings with him. Weshall find that the awakening 
of the Servant to the consciousness of his high vocation is precisely 
the theme of the second of the Servant poems (xlix. i — 6), which 
thus marks an advance not only on vv. 18 — 25 but also on vv. i — 4, 
of this chapter. 

18. look and see are distinguished as in 2 Kings iii. 14 ; Job 
x.xxv. 5), etc. ; the former is to direct the gaze towards, the latter 
to take in the significance of an object. 

19. Israel is the blind and deaf nation par excellence, because 
no other nation has been so tested by the opportunity of seeing 
and hearing (see on v. 21). my messem^er thai I send] Cf. 
eh. xliv. 26, where "messengers" is parallel to "servant(s)." 

as he that is at peace with mel The meaning of the Heb. 
meshulldm (a proper name in 2 Ki. xxii. 3 ; - Ezra viii. ifi, and 
often) is uncertain. Some take it as the equivalent of the Arabic 
"Moslini," = "the devoted one" \Cheyne, Conim.); but the idea 
seems hardly suitable, inasmuch as it implies a state of character 
which the actual Israel does not possess. A better rendering 
might be the befriended one (sc. by Jehovah), after the analogy 
of Job v. 23; or "the requited one" (see marg.), though it is 
difficult to attach any definite meaning to these expressions in the 
context. Duhm's suggestion to read "their rulers" (Dn'''?ti*0) 
with the LXX. is not a fortunate one. 

blind in the last clause should no doubt be deaf, as is read in 
some MSS. 

20. , Thou hast seen many things] Such is the reading of the 
consonantal text, which has been quite needlessly changed by 
the punctuators ("seeing"). The idea of the verse is that the 
great historical facts of revelation have been within the cognisance 
of Israel, but it has failed to apprehend their true import. Cf. 
ch. xliii. 8, vi. q ff. ; and esp. Deut. xxix. 3 f. 

21. It was Jehovah's pleasure, for His righteousness' salie, to 
magnify instruction (or, revelation) and glorify it. righteousness 

38 ISAIAH XLII. 22—24 

22 But this is a people robbed and spoiled ; they are all of 
them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses : 
they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, 

23 anci none saith, Restore. Who is there among you that 
will give ear to this ? that will hearken and hear for the 

24 time to come? Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel 
to the robbers? did not the Lord? he against whom 

is to be understood exactly as in v. 6; and the verbs "magnify" 
and "glorify" are subordinate to "was pleased," expressing that 
which Jehovah was pleased to do. (See Davidson, Synt. § 83, 
\\. I.) The only question is whether the reference is to the past 
rev^elation in law and prophecy, by which Israel has failed to 
profit; or to the future glorification of religion by its diffusion 
among the nations (vv. i , 4, 6). The last is the meaning. 
The verse is not an explanation of the "many things" that Israel 
has seen and failed to see, but introduces a new thought. It 
expresses the great purpose which Jehovah had cherished with 
regard to Israel — to make it the instrument of extending the 
knowledge of His will to the world. This is the true "glorifica- 
tion" of the Tordh of Israel (v. 4). 

22 ft. shew how this design has hitherto been frustrated by the 
necessity of imposing chastisement on Israel, till it should learn 
its true mission. 

22. Bui this...'] Rather: But it. snared in holes] This is 
no doubt the sense, although a change of pointing seems necessary 
in the verb, making it a passive (read hvLphah for hdpheah). The 
metaphor is for thte Captivity ; the prophet does not necessarily 
mean that a large proportion of the exiles were actually in- 
carcerated in dungeons. 

23. The question expresses the prophet's wish that now at last 
some of the people should begin to realise the significance of their 
relation to Jehovah, and prepare themselves for the great dehver- 

will give eaf to IMS'] i.e. to the substance of the present exhorta- 
tion, — the contrast between the ideal calling of Israel and its 
present position, its failure to realise its' mission,, and (especially) 
the reason of that failure {vv. 24 f.). 

for the time to cornel ^^ contrast to past disobedience. It is 
evident that the prophet expects the mission of Israel to be 
realised by a conversion of the nation. 

24. 25. The enigma of Israel's history is that Jehovah its God 
has given it ov^er to its enemies, — a truth which the nation as a 
whole has never yet laid to heart. 

24. for a spoil] A better reading (which is probably that in- 
tended by the consonantal text) is to the spoiler. (Cf. ch. x. 13.) 
did not the Loud?...] The whole of tliis answer is regarded by 

ISATAH XLII. 24, 25 39 

we have sinned, and in whose ways they would not walk, 
neither were they obedient unto his ^law. Therefore he 25 
poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength 
of battle; and it set him on fire round about, yet he 
knew not ; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart. 

' Or, teaching 

Duhm and Cheyne as spurious. Its removal gets rid of an 
awkward alternation of persons, and enables us to read v. 25 as 
a continuation of the question in the first part of v. 24. But 
Duhm goes too far when he objects to tlie substance of the answer, 
on the ground that so explicit a confession of sin is improbable 
before ch. xliii. i ff. The last clause is to be translated as a 
relative, and whose law they did not obey. 

25. Therefore should be simply And (continuing the question 
of 24 a).' the strength of battle'] the violence of war, which 

(as in ch. ix. 18 ff., etc.) is compared to a fire. he knew nof] 

i.e. "understood it not"; hardly, "heeded it not." Israel felt 
its calamities keenly enough, but did not comprehend their 
significance, as a visitation from Jehovah. Note the contrast in 
ch. xliii. 2. 

Ch. xliii. 1 — XLIV. 23. Israel, Jehovah's Servant and 
Witness, is comforted with gracious promises of 
Redemption and a glorious Kestoration. 

(i) vv. I — 7. This section follows closely on vv. 18 — 25 of the 
previous chapter. The prophet has reminded the captives that 
the author of their calamities is Jehovah, against whom they 
have sinned ; now he assures them that in spite of these sins God 
has not cast them off, and directs their thoughts to the bright 
future about to dawn on them. Jehovah is about to redeem 
Israel, which He has formed and chosen for His own {vv. i, 2); 
He will ransom it at the cost of powerful and wealthy? nations, 
because it is precious in His sight [vv. 3, 4); He will gather 
together its scattered members from the remotest quarters of 
the world (vv. 5 — 7). 

(ii) vv. 8 — 13. The argument from prophecy is here repeated, 
and again in the dramatic form of a judicial process between 
Jehovah and the assembled nations. These are challenged to 
bring forward their witnesses to prove that their gods have fore- 
told this wonderful event, or that any past prediction of theirs 
has been verified (v. 9). Jehovah on His part brings forward 
His servant Israel, a people blind and deaf, but able at least to 
bear witness to the fact that He has given incontestable proof 
of divinity by predicting this great deliverance {vv. 8, 10 ff.). 

.}0 ISAIAH Xl.lll I 

But now thus saitli the Lord that created thee.O Jacob, 
and lie that formed thee, O Israel : Fear not, for I liave 
redeemed thee; I liave called thee by thy name, thou 

(lii) vv. 14 — 21. The fall of Babylon is for the first time 
explicitly announced (vv. 14, 13), as the prcliiiiinary to Israel's 
restoration. The glory of this "new thing" shall eclipse all 
"former things," even the wonders of the exodus from Egypt 
and the marching through the wilderness {vv. 16 ff.). The 
prophet's imagination again fixes on the concrete image of the 
miraculous way through the desert as the emblem of Jehovah's 
saving power (vv. 19 ff.). 

(iv) ft;. 22 — 28. A renewed remonstrance with Israel, 
similar in tone to ch. xlii. 18 — 25. While Israel has been utterly 
careless of Jehovah {v. 22), burdening Him not with lavish 
offerings but merely with its sins and iniquities {vv. 23^ 24), He, 
for His own sake, forgives its {v. 25), although the 
people have forfeited all claim on His mercy {vv. 26 — 28). 

(v) Ch. xliv. I — 5. By the outpouring of His spirit, Jehovah 
will so bless and prosper His people, that proselytes from among 
the heathen shall voluntarily attach themselves to the restored 
nation. This promise stands in contrast to the severity of the 
preceding verses, exactly as vv. i — 7 follow upon the last strophe 
of ch. xlii. 

(vi) vv. 6 — 8; A re-assertion of the sole d ity of Jehovah as 
a ground of confidence in the future. 

[vv. 9 — 20, an elaborate exposure of the irrationality of idolatry, 
seem to be an interpolated passage (see pp. 54 f.).] 

(vii) vv. 21 — 23. An exhortation to the exiles to lay these 
truths to heart, and cleave to the God who forgives their sin, and 
who alone can deliver, v. 23 is a closing hymn of praise, called 
forth by the thought of the great redemption. 

1 — 7. Israel, assured of Jehovah's protection in the impending 
world cri,=iis, and of a glorious national restoration, may face the 
future without fear. 

1. Btit now] In contrast to xlii. 25. 

that created thee... that formed thee] Three verbs which express 
Jehovah's creative activity are applied in this prophecy to His 
special relation to Israel: "create" {vv. i, 7, 15); "form" 
(i'7;. I, 21, xliv. 2, 21, 24, xlv. II, xlix. 5 (Ixiv. 8); "make" 
(xliv. 2, li. 13, liv. 5). 

/ have redeemed thee] Rather : I redeem thee (pert, of certainty). 
See on ch. xli. 13 f. / have called (I call) thee by thy name] 

i.e. I address thee as one w'ho is familiar and dear (xlv. 3 f., cf. 
Ex. xxxi. 2; Est. ii. 14); stronger than the simple "call" (xlii. 
6, xlix. i). A change of text ("called thee by my name ') is 


art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I wiH 2 
be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not 
overflow thee : when thou walkest through the fire, thou 
shalt not be burned ; neither shall the flame kindle upon 
thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of 3 
Israel, thy saviour ; I have given Egypt as thy ransom, 
Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou hast been 4 
precious in my sight, ^and honourable, and I have loved 
thee ; therefore will I give men for thee, and peoples for 
thy life. Fear not ; for I am with thee : I will bring thy 5 

^ Or, thou hast been honourable 6-c. 

2. When Jehovah was angry the fire burned Israel (ch. xlii. 
25), but now with Jehovah on its side, it is invulnerable in the 
severest trials. "Water" and "fire" are common images of 
extreme peril ; the former in Ps. xxxii. 6, xlii. 7, cxxiv. 4 f . ; 
the latter in ch. xlii. 25 (cf. Dan. iii. 17, 27); both together 
Ps. Ixvi. 12. For burned render scorched (Prov. vi. 28). 

3. thy saviour'] Or, "deliverer"; a favourite designation of 
Jehovah with this prophet; v. 11, ch. xlv. 15, 21, xlix. 26 (Ix. 16, 
Ixiii. 8). The second half of the verse shews on how large a 
scale this national deliverance is to be executed. 

/ give Egypt as thy ransom...'] The meaning appears to be 
that Cyrus will be compensated for the emancipation of Israel 
by the conquest of these African nations, rich and distant lands, 
which did not belong to the Babylonian Empire. As a matter 
of fact the conquest of Egypt was effected by Cambyses, the son 
and successor of Cyrus, although it is said to have been con- 
templated by Cyrus himself (Herod, i. 153)! and is actually 
(though wrongly) attributed to him by Xenophon {Cyrop. viii. 
6. 20). 

Seba (Gen. x. 7; Ps. Ixxii. 10; ch. xlv. 14) was, according to 
Josephus (Ant 11. 249), Meroe, the northern province of Ethiopia, 
lying between the Blue and the White Nile. 

ransom is strictly a money payment by which a man escapes 
the forfeit of his life (see Ex. xxi. 30; Num. xxxv. 31 f . ; Prov. 
vi. 35, etc.). 

4. Sinoe thou hast been...] Rather: Because thou art precious 
in my sight, art honourable (cf. xlix. 5 b), and I love thee (three 
CQ ordinate clauses). The A.V. and R.V. marg. seem to take the 
conjunction in a temporal sense, a view which has been defended 
by some commentators on grammatical grounds, but is quite 

men] in contrast to a money payment. But it is perhaps better 
to read with Duhm and others nbl..>, "lands." 


6 seed from the east, and gather tliee from the west ; I will 
say to tlie north. Give up; and to tlie south, Keep not 
hack : luring my sons from far, and my daughters from 

7 the end of the earth; every one that is called by my 
name, and whom I have created for my glory; I have' 

5> formed him ; yea, I have made him. Bring forth the 
blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. 
9 ^ Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the 
1 Or, Gather yourselves together, all ye nations 

5 — 7. The ingathering of the Dispersion (cf. ch. xHx. 12). 

6. my sons. daughters] See ch. i. i. The individual 
Israehtes are the children of the marriage between Jehovah and 
the nation (Hos. ii. 2, 5; Ez. xvi. 20, etc.). 

7. that IS called by my name] i.e. who belongs to the community 
in which Jehovah is worshipped. 

for my glory] Although it is only the restored nation that can 
fully manifest Jehovah's glory to the world, each of its scattered 
units shares the dignity which belongs to Israel as a whole. 

8 — 13. Another imaginary judgement scene (cf. ch. xli. i — 4, 
21 — 28), in which Israel appears as Jehovah's witness to the truth 
of His prophecies. 

8. Bring forth] i.e. not " from exile," but " before the tribunal." 
The sense demands an imperat. or inf. abs., and the Heb. pointing 
(which gives a perf.) must be altered accordingly. 

the blind people that have eyes...] The R.V. here fails to bring 
out the force of the original. Render : a people blind, yet having 
eyes, etc. This cannot mean "a people once blind and deaf, but 
now in possession of sight and hearing" ; and it scarcely means 
anything so subtle as "a people which though blind and deaf yet 
possesses the organs of sight and hearing," and therefore can be 
made to see and hear (v. 10). The paradox is the same as in 
ch. xUi. 20 (" thou hast seen many things but thou observest not," 
etc.), the sense being that while Israel lacks insight into the 
divine meaning of its own history, it is nevertheless a perfectly 
competent witness to the bare external facts ; it has heard the 
predictions and seen them fulfilled. 

9. Let all the nations be gathered together] The form of the 
verb in Heb. presents difficulty. By some it is treated as a rare 
form of imperat., on the ground of two doubtful analogies (so 
marg., "Gather yourselves together," etc.). Others take it as 
a precative perf. (A.V. and R.V.) the existence of which in Heb. 
is also disputed (see Driver, Tenses, § 20). There seems, however, 
no reason why it should not be understood as a perf. in the 
ordinary sense : All the nations are gathered together. The 
assembling of the parties in the process naturally precedes the 

ISAIAH XLIII 9, lo 43 

peoples be assembled: who among them can declare 
this, and shew us former things? let them bring their 
witnesses, that they may be justified : ^or let them hear, 
and say, It is truth. Ye are my witnesses, saith the lo 
Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen : that ye 
may know and believe me, and understand that I am 
he; before me there was no God formed, neither shall 

^ Or, and that they tnay hear 

calling of witnesses ; and this clause is descriptive of the scene 
presupposed by y. 8. The following verb should then be pointed 
as a consecutive impf. : and the peoples are assembled. 

who among them (the heathen gods, represented by their wor- 
shippers) can declare this] which is about to happen — the re- 
demption and restoration of Israel. 

former things] Predictions of the events that have already taken 
place. See on xli. 22. If they profess to do this, then let them 
bring their witnesses, in support of their contention. 

and let them hear, ayid say] The subject changes to the witnesses, 
who are supposed to hear the allegations of the false deities, and 
corroborate them. 

be justified... It is truth] See on ch. xli. 26. 

10. The gods are unable to meet the challenge, and Jehovah 
turns to His servant Israel, whose very presence is evidence of 
His power both to predict and to deliver. The words and my 
servant are not a complement of the subject ("ye are my witnesses 
and [so is] my Servant") but of the predicate (ye are my witnesses 
and [ye are] my Servant). The former view would imply some 
sort of distinction between the Servant and Israel, whether of 
an individual over against the nation, or of a part of the nation 
over against the whole. But whatever view may be held of the 
personality of the Servant, the natural construction of the 
sentence places it alongside of those numerous passages where 
the title is applied to Israel. To bear witness to Jehovah's 
divinity is one of the functions of Israel as the Servant of the 

that ye may know...] In the very act of bearing witness, it 
would seem that the mind of Israel is to be awakened to the grand 
truth of which its own history is the evidence, — the sole divinity 
of Jehovah, and its own unique position as His servant. 

/ am he] See ch. xli. 4. 

before me there was no God formed] Strictly, of course, the idea 
is, "before any god was formed I existed." The form of expres- 
sion might be derived from the Babylonian cosmology, according 
to which the gods were the first beings to emerge from the 
primeval chaos. The following words occur in the Chaldean 

44 ISAIAH XLIII. 10—13 

11 tlR-re be alter me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside 

12 me there is no saviour. I have declared, and I have 
saved, and I have shewed, aiid there was no strange god 
among you : therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the 

13 Lord, and I am God. Yea, ^ since the day was I am he ; 
and there is none that can dehver out of my hand: 
I will work, and who shall ^let it? 

' Or, jrom this day forth I &-c. ^ Or, reverse 

account of creation : " When of the gods none had yet arisen, 
when none named a name or [determined] fate; then were the 
[great] gods 'formed" (Schrader, Cuneiform Inscriptions on Gen. 
i. i). It is probably to this origin of the gods themselves that 
reference is made, rather tharf to tlie formation of tlieir images 
(ch. xliv. 9). 

11. /, even I, am the Loim] I, I am Jehovah; see on ch. 
xlii. 8. 

there is no saviour] See on v. 3. The will and power to 
"save" is to TI Isaiah the distinctive function and predicate of 
true deity. 

12. have declared... saved... shewed] The arrangement of the 
verbs is peculiar. Some would remove the second, others the 
third, as dittography. But if there be any error in the text it is 
more likely the omission of a fourth word, which would be parallel 
to "saved," as "shewed" is to "declared" (so Duhm). 

and there was no strange (i.e. foreign) god] This cannot refer 
to an early period of the history, before idolatry had crejrt in ; 
because the deliverance is conceived as having just taken place. 
It is true that many "strange gods" had been acknowledged in 
Israel ; but none of them was really there, as a living active 
presence in their midst. The meaning is, "It is I who do this, 
and no god who is a stranger among you." "strange god" is 
strictly "stranger," as in Deut. xxxii. 16; Jer. ii. 25, iii. 13. 

and" ye are my witnesses] to the truth, namely, that Jehovah 
and no strange god has been active in your history. The following 
clause and I am God begins a new distich and should be connected 
with V. 13; the metre, however, requires the addition of some 
such phrase as "from of old" (D7iy?r, Oort, Duhm and others) 
parallel to "from this day" (DVD: cf. Ezek. xlviii. 35) in v. 13. 

13. Yea, since the day was] The correct translation is that of 
marg. : Yea, from this day forth (for all the future) I am (xli. 4) ; 
the deliverance marking a new era in Jehovah's manifestation of 
Himself as God, the only God who is a saviour (v. 11). 

/ will work. ..let it?] Better: T work, and who shall reverse it? 
{cf. ch. xiv. 27). 

ISAIAH XLIII. 14—16 43 

Thus saith the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One 14 
of Israel : For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and I 
will bring down ^ all of them as fugitives, even the Chal- 
deans, in the ships of their rejoicing. I am the Lord, 15 
your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King. Thus 16 
saith the^ Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and 

^ Or, as otherwise read, all their nobles, even &c. 

14, 15. A new section (14 — 21) commences here with a brief 
but explicit announcement of the fall of Babylon. 

14. the Lord, your redeemer] See on oh. xli. 14. 

/ have sent (or perhaps, I will send) to Babylon] As object of 
the verb we must supply the Persian army, the "consecrated 
ones" of ch. xiii. 3. 

and I ivill bring down... rejoicing] A corrupt and unintelligible 
passage. Accepting the text as it stands, the best translation 
is no doubt that of R.V. The sense would be that the inhabitants 
of Babylon shall all be sent down the Euphrates as fugitives in 
ships, which was precisely the manner in which Alerodach-baladan 
made his escape from Sennacherib (see Schrader, Cimeiforrti 
Inscriptions, E.T. ^'ol. 11. p, 36). A description of the ships on 
the Euphrates is to be found in Herod, i. 194; they are here 
called "ships of rejoicing" as having formerly been used for 
pleasure. The rendering, however, is altogether unsatisfying. 
The difficulties appear to be partly due to the loss of some 
words in the text : and emendations of single expressions merely 
suggest different turns of thought without producing any accept- 
able result. Thus, the word for "fugitives" might (with the 
change of one vowel) be read as "bolts," and this is taken by 
A. v., though without justification, as a metaphor for "nobles." 
It might also be a metaphor for the defences of Babylon, or a 
symbol of Israel's captivity; "I will bring down the bolts" gives 
a good enough sense so far as it goes. Another slight emendation 
is to change "shi ps" into "lamentations" (E wald) : "and the 
shouting of the Chaldeans into lamentations ( ?). Fortunately, 
the underlying idea, that the power of Babylon will be broken 
for Israel's sal^e, is not doubtful. 

16 — 21. The sequel to the overthrow of Babylon is the 
deliverance of Israel, the method of which is compared with the 
greatest miracle in Israel's past history, the exodus from 

16. Thus saith the Lo/U'] The oracle itself begins at v. 18; 
it is prefaced in vv. 16 f. by a vivid description of the mighty 
power of Jehovah, as illustrated once for all at the crossing of 
the Red Sea (Ex. xiv. f.). 

.|6 ISAIAH \I.III. If) — It) 

17 ii path in the mighty waters; *whidi bringeth forth the 
chariot aiul horse, the army and the power; they He 
down together, they sliall not rise; they are extinct, 
I S they are (]uenched as ^flax: Remember ye not the 
10 former things, neitlier consider tlie tilings of old. Be- 
hold, I will do a new thing; now shall it spring forth; 

' ( )r, rvhich... power : They shall lie e'>c. - Or, a wick 

m the mighty waters] Cf. Neh. ix. 11. 

17. which bringeth forth] i.e. allows them to come forth to 
their destruction (cf. Ez. xxxviii. 4, where the same expression 
is used with regard to the expedition of Gog, king of Magog). 
The next words should be rendered simply chariot and horse 
(without art.). 

the army and the power] Perhaps : army and warrior. The 
second word is found elsewhere only in Ps. xxiv. 8 (R.V. "strong") 
in apposition with the common word for "hero." Here it may 
be used collectively. 

they lie down] .\ grajihic ]>rosent (impf.). 

quenched as flax] extinguished lllie a wicli ; the same words as 
in ch. xlii. 3. The alternation of tenses in the original is note- 
worthy and ver^' graphic. The participial construction first gives 
place to the descriptive impf., and this again to two perfects of 
completed action. 

18. Great as the wonders of the exodus were they shall be far 
surpassed by that which Jehovah is about to do. The verse 
resumes the opening clause of v. 16. 

Remember ye not...] Cf. Jer. xvi. 14 f., xxiii. 7 f. It is not 
meant of course that the exodus shall be actually forgotten (see 
ch. xlvi. 9), but only that it shall no longer be the supreme 
instance of Jehovah's redeeming power. 

former things... things of old] Cf. ch. xlvi. 9. Obviously the 
expression "former things," so often used of past events pre- 
dicted, here denotes the remote incidents of the dehverance 
from Egypt. 

19. The making of the way through the desert and water for 
the pilgrims to drink (see on ch. xl. 3 f., xli. 18 fif.) is considered 
to be a miracle transcending the passage of the Red Sea, and all 
the miracles which attended the first exodus. This is the new 
thing on which the prophet's mind fastens as the symbol of 
Israel's deliverance. 

now shall it etc.] Rather: even now it is springing forth; do 
ye not recognise it ? In ch. .xlii. 9, the new things are spoken of 
as announced before they "spring forth," while as yet there is no 
sign of their appearing ; here to the lively imagination of the 
prophet they are already seen "germinating," and he calls on 

ISAIAH XLIII. 19—21 47 

shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the 
wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beasts of the 20 
field shall honour me, the jackals arfd the ostriches: 
because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in 
the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen: the 21 
people which I formed for mys'elf, ^that they might set 

^ Or, they shall set forth 

the people to see them as the inevitable issue of the conquests of 

the desert^ Heb. YesMmon. an utterly barren and an d region 
(Deut. xxxii. 10; Ps. Ixvni. 7, Ixxviii. 40, cvii. 4, etc.) as distin- 
guished from midbdr ("wilderness'' or "steppe"), where flocks 
can^iid a stall I3 'sustenance. It occurs with the art. as a proper 
name in Num. xxi. 20; i Sam. xxiii. 19, xxvi. i, etc. See G. A. 
Smith, Hist. Geog. pp. 312 ff. 

20. Even the wild beasts shall honour Jehovah, unconsciously, 
through their joy at the abundant supply of water. 

the jackals and the ostriches'] See on ch. xiii. 21, 22. 

21. The verse supplies an apposition to "my people" of v. 20. 
It reads: The people which I have formed for myself, they shall 
tell forth my praise (marg.). As the "streams in the desert" 
were created for Israel and not for the "beasts of the field," so it 
is Israel alone that can fully celebrate the praises of the Lord, 
who is its Redeemer (cf. i Pet. ii. 9). Several circumstances — 
the duplication of 19 h in 20 b, defective metre^ the unusual 
relative pron. (-IT), and the somewhat prosaic character of the 
thought — combine to make the genuineness of this verse and the 
second half oi v. 20 doubtful. 

22 — 28. Jehovah effects this deliverance for His own sake, 
not in return for homage rendered to Him by Israel. The 
argument of the section is difficult to follow, especially in the 
part which speaks of sacrifice. Two questions present themselves : 
(a) does Jehovah upbraid His people with their neglect of ritual, or 
does He assert His own indifference to it? and (b) is the reference 
to the whole course of Israel's history or merely to the period of 
the Exile? The answer to (6) seems determined by the con- 
sideration that if understood of the history as a whole the 
statement is -inconsistent with fact. Although the prophet 
undoubtedly takes a dark view of Israel's past religious condition 
iv. 27), we cannot suppose that he charges it with disregard of the 
externals of religion. Whatever faults Israel had been guilty 
of, it had not been slack in the performance of ritual (see ch. i. 
10 ff.). Now if we limit the reference to the Exile, the idea of an 
implied reproach (a) must be abandoned, because the suspension 
of the sacrificial system was in the circumstances inevitable. 

48 ISAIAH Mill. 2i-2\ 

22 fortli my praist'. \v{ tlum li;ist iidt ( alhd u|)i)ii mv, 

Jacob; but tluni hast been weary ul me, O Israel. 

23 Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt 

The main thought here is expressed in the second half of v. 23 
more clearly than in the first halves of vu. 23 and 24. This 
hardly amounts to a repudiTition of sacrifice in principle on the 
part of Jehovah. The truth appears to be that the propliet 
concentrates attention on the simple fact that during the Exile 
sacrifice liad not been offered ; whether Israel was to l)lanic for 
this or not is immaterial to his argument. He has in his view 
the prevailing ideas of the time as to the normal attitude of a 
people to its God ; and he shews how inadequate these arc to 
explain Jehovah's relation to Israel. The natural and proper 
thing was for a nation to invoke the name of its God, and to 
honour Him with costly and laborious rites. Israel has done 
none of these things, it has only burdened Jehovah with its sins; 
yet in spite of the tibsence of sacrifice, and even of llie religious 
disposition which sacrifice ought to express, Jehovah proves 
Himself to be its God by forgiving its iniquities and undertaking 
its cause against its enemies. 

22. Yet thou hast not called upon me] To call upon Jehovah 
"in the day of trouble" was the first and most obvious duty of 
Israel (Ps. 1. 15), but this duty Israel has neglected. The state- 
ment is of course general; it does not exclude the existence of a 
believing minority which poured out its heart in prayer to God. 
The position of the word "me" is emphatic in the original; but 
the emphasis on the object throws a corresponding emphasis on 
the subject: "But not upon me hast thou called, Jacob"; it is 

1 who have called thee (ch. xli. 9, xlii. 6, xliii. i, etc.). It is 
foreign to the context to suppose an antithesis between Jehovah 
and other gods. 

but thou hast been weary of me] Or, perhaps : much less hast 
thou wearied thyself about me (Cheyne). The translation of 
E.V. is possible, although the expression is not elsewhere used of 
being weary of a person. The other sense, however, is mu'ch to 
be preferred because oi v. 23 fe, and is justified by the analogy of 
ch. xlvii. 12, 15, Ixii. 8; Josh. xxiv. 13. The use of the conjunc- 
tion is peculiar; the simple kt seems to have the same force as 
the fuller 'aph ki (as in i Ki. viii. 27, " much less this house, " etc.). 
The easiest solution might be to suppose that the 'aph has been 
omitted, but this is not really necessar3^ How Israel might have 
"wearied itself about" Jehovah is explained in vv. 23 f. 

23. . The absence of sacrifice has not impaired the bond between 
Jehovah and His people. The thought presents a striking con- 
trcist to ch. i. 10 ff., a passage which was probably in the writer's 

the small cattle] The Heb. word serves as the noun of unity to 

ISAIAH. XLIII. 23—25 49 

offerings ; neither hast thou honoured me with thy 
sacrifices. I have not made thee to serve with ^ offerings, 
nor wearied thee with frankincense. Thou hast bought 24 
me no ^sweet cane with money, neither hast thou ^filled 
m.e with the fat of thy sacrifi^ces: but thou hast made 
me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with 
thine iniquities. I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy 25 

1 ()r, a meal offering - Or, calamus ^ Or, satiated 

the word for "flock" (i.e. sheep and goats). On burnt-offerings, 
sacrifices and offerings, see on ch. i. 11, 13. 

/ have not made thee to serve] "have not treated thee as a 
slave," by exacting tribute. The statement might no doubt be 
understood absolutely, according to Jer. vii. 21 ff.; but it is 
perhaps sufficient to take it of the Exile, when the non-essential 
character of sacrifice was revealed by its enforced discontinuance 
(cf. Ps. li. 16). 

frankincense] See ch. Ix. 6; Jer. vi. 20. In both these 
passages incense is described as coming from Arabia, which 
agrees with the statement of Phny, that it was collected in the 
chief city of Hadramaut and thence conveyed to Syria. The 
Heb. word (lebondh), which is preserved in the Gr. XitSavos, 
XiSauuiT^s, is quite different from that found in ch. i. 13 (ketoreth, 
originally =" sacrificial smoke"). Its introduction marks a 
relinem.ent of cultus which crept into Jewish usage in the later 
period of the monarchy. 

24. sweet cane] (kdneh) is also mentioned in Jer. vi. 20 as 
coming from a "far country." It is supposed to be calamus 
odoratus, a product of India, but grown also in Arabia and Syria ; 
hence Jarchi, the Jewish commentator, explains : "because there 
was enough in Palestine " ! It formed an ingredient in the sacred 
oil with which the priests, the tabernacle, etc. were anointed 
(Ex. x.xx. 23, E.V. "sweet calamus"). One of the rare parono- 
masias in this prophecy is the play of words between this name 
and the verb for "buy"' (kdndh). 

filled me] satiated me (as marg.). 

with the fat] Cf. Jer. xxxi. 14; Ps. xxxvi. 8. 

but (only) thou hast made me to serve...] This is the contrast 
which the prophet has had in view from the beginning of the 
section: while Jehovah has not burdened His people even with 
the offerings which it would have been too ready to bring, it has 
burdened Him with its sins ; and while Israel has taken its whole 
relation to Jehovah lightly. He has accepted the burden, and 
laboured in its servace for the removal of its guilt. 

25. Since Israel has neither brought sacrifices, nor even offered 
prayer acceptable to Jehovah, He Himself must take the initiative 


50 ISAIAII Xl.lll. J3— 2« 

transgressions for mine own sake ; and 1 will not re- 

26 member thy sins. Put me in remembrance ; let us 
plead together: set thou forth thy cause, that thou 

27 mayest be justified. Thy first father sinned, and thine 
2S Mnterjircters have transgressed against me. Therefore 

I -will pn)fane the ^princes of the sanctuary, and 1 ^will 

' Or, ambassadors - Or, have projaned 

^ Or, holy princes * Or, have made 

in the work of redemption, blotting out its transgressions "for his 
own -sake." In accordance with O.T. analogies, the act of for- 
gi\encss is described simply as 'not renicmbering" sin; but the 
actual working out of forgiveness in history calls into exercise the 
resources of Omnipotence ; it includes all Jehovah's dealings with 
His people, His handing them over to the dominion of the heathen 
(v. 28), and saving them again in His marvellous providence. 
The verse, moreover, contains only one half of the prophet's 
teaching about forgiveness; the other half is the process by 
which the people are brought to repentance, and this is the 
work of the Servant of the Lord, as described in ch. liii. 

26. In order to bring home the charge of guilt (v. 24) Jehovah 
summons the people to debate their cause with Him. As vv. 23 
— 25 recall ch. i. 10 fl., so this verse seems to be suggested by 
V. 18 of that chapter. 

Put me in remembrance'] i.e. "of any merits thou canst claim, or 
any plea thou canst urge, and which I have overlooked." 

let us plead together] "let us implead one another," as in i. 18, 
though the verb is different. set thou forth] Kather: reckon 

thou up (Ps. xl. 5). mayest be justified] mayest be in the 


27. Thy first father] Undoubtedly Jacob, the eponymous 
hero of the nation, is meant (cf. Hos. xii. 3 f.), not Abraham (who 
is never spoken of in the later literature as sinful), nor the earUest 
ancestors collectively; still less Adam. 

thine interpreters (Gen. xhi. 23)] Or, " mediators " (as Job xxxiii. 
23 ; 2 Chr. xxxii. 31) ; used of the (false) prophets only here. On 
the idea, see Jer. xxiii. 11 ff. If the representative ancestor and 
the spiritual leaders of Israel were such, what must the mass of 
the nation have been ! 

28. Comp. xlii. 25. Therefore I have profaned] (marg.) is 
better than R.V. Therefore I will profane, although it requires 
the change of a vowel. 

the princes of the sanctuary'] Better; consecrated princes. 
The priests are so named in i Chr. xxiv. 5 ; it is doubtful whether 
here priests or kings or both are meant, the consecration by 
anointing being common to both. For the idea, see Lam. ii. 2, 


make Jacob a ^ curse, and Israel a reviling. Yet now 44 
hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have 
chosen : thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed 2 
thee from the womb, who will help thee : Fear not, 
O Jacob my servant ; and thou, Jeshurun, whom I have 
chosen. For I will pour water upon ^him that is thirsty, 3 
and streams upon the dry ground : I will pour my spirit 

1 Or, devoted thing - Or, the thirsty land 

The LXX. and Pesh., however, read "and the [thy] princes have 
desecrated my [the] sanctuary," which some regard as a better 
text. On this view (which hardly commends itself) the following 
"and" must be rendered "and so" or "therefore." 

and I will make... curse'] Render: and delivered Jacob to the 
ban. See on xxxiv. 2. 

xliv. 1 — 5. Once more the gloom of the present is lighted up 
by the promise of a brilliant future ; the divine spirit shall be 
poured out on Israel, and strangers shall esteem it an honour to 
attach themselves to the people of Jehovah. 

1. Yet now] But now; marking the contrast, exactly as in 
ch. xliii. I. 

2. formed thee from the womb] See v. 24, ch. xlix. 5. 
Jeshurun occurs again only in Deut. xxxii. 15, xxxiii. 5, 26; 

always as a synonym for Israel and a title of honour (hardly a 
diminutive, as the termination might suggest). It means the 
"Upright One," being formed from an adj. ydshdr, which is 
applied to Israel in Num. xxiii. 10, and perhaps also in the phrase 
"book of Jashar" (see Josh. x. 13, R.V.). The history of the 
name is, however, altogether obscure. Tlae opinion that it was 
coined in opposition to Jacob ("the supplanter") has Uttle to 
recommend it; although that antithesis may have led to its 
selection by this prophet. 

The recent discovery of the name Israel on an Egyptian 
monument of the reign of Merenptah may shed fresh light on the 
relation of the two names Israel and Jeshurun. The form in 
which the word there appears is said to be Yishir'il, the sibilant 
agreeing with Jeshurun but differing from the traditional pro- 
nunciation of Yisrael. Yishir'il and Yeshurun might be deriva- 
tions from a coinmon root, ydshar. (Brandt, Theologisch Tijd- 
schrift, 1896, p. 511; cf. Kenan, Hist, du peiiple d'Israel, Vol. i. 
p. 106.) 

3. On the first half of the verse see ch. xli. 17 ff. Here, how- 
ever, a figurative sense predominates, as is shewn by what follows. 
The " spirit " is the agent both of physical and moral regeneration, 
as in ch. xxxii. 15 (cf. Ez. xxxvii. 11 — 14) ; the former idea being 
prominent; hence the parallelism "spirit" — "blessing," the 

52 ISAIAH XI.IV. 3—5 

upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: 

4 and they shall spring up among the grass, as willows by 

5 the watercourses. One shall say, 1 am the Lord's; 
and another shall 'call himself by the name of Jacob; 
and another shall ''^subscribe with his hand unto the 
Lord, and '^surname himself by the name of Israel. 

' Or, proclaim (he name " Or, write on his hand, Unto the Loud 
' Or, give for a title the name of Israel 

former being the cause, the latter the effect. On the figure of 
water for the spirit, cf. John i. 33, etc. seed and offspring are 

individual Israelites. 

4. spring up among the grass] The text is universally admitted 
to be corrupt. There is no doubt that the LXX. preserves the 
true reading: spring up as grass among the waters. (Instead of 
the impossible "i^iT, p^, read TiTl C'^D pHi:-) 

willows] Or, poplars; sec on ch. xv. 7. 

5. The result of the divine blessing manifested in Israel's 
restoration will be that foreigners will attach themselves as 
proselytes to the Jewish community. The promise therefore 
goes far beyond ch. xUii. 5 — 7. It is perhaps barely possible 
(with Dillmann) to understand this verse also of Israelites by 
birth, in the sense that they shall esteem it an honour to belong 
to their own nation ; but this is certainly unnatural and scarcely 
to be reconciled with the second and fourth members of the 

call himself by the name of Jacob] The words, strictly rendered, 
would mean "call on the name of Jacob." It simphfies the con- 
struction greatly if, with Duhm (after Lowth and Oort), we 
vocalise this \erb (as well as the last verb of the verse) as a 
passive: — "shall be called," etc. 

subscribe with his hand unto the Lord] Rather: inscribe his 
hand "To Jehovah." The allusion is to the practice of branding 
slaves with the name of their owner, or perhaps to the religious 
custom of tattooing sacred marks on the person (Lev. xix. 28). 
See Ezek. ix. 4; Gal. vi. 17; Rev. vii. 3, xiii. 16. 

surname himself (or better be surnamed, see abov^e) by the name 
of Israel] The verb is co nnected etym ological ly with an _-Arabic 
wo rd kttnya, althnnph i t i"c ncprl h^rp ir^ a widf^*" sense. The 
kunya is a sort of household name, which consists in designating 
a man as the father of a particular child ; thus in Ninimer ibn . 
Koblan Abu Par is (X., son ol K., father of F.) the last title is 
the kunya. (Seetzen, Reisen, Vol. 11. p. 327.) Besides this, 
howev-er, the Arabs make great use of honorific titles, like Nur- 
eddtn ("Light of the Rehgion"), etc. ; and it is in a sense corre- 
sponding to this that the Heb. verbisalwaysused ; cf. ch. xlv. 4 

ISAIAH XLIV. 6, 7 33 

Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel, and his re- 6 
deemer the Lord of hosts : I am the first, and I am the 
last; and beside me there is no God. ^And who, as I, 7 
shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, 
since I appointed the ancient people? and the things 

^ Or, And who, as I, can proclaim ? let him declare it &c. 

and esp. Job xxxii. 21 f. (E.V. "give flattering titles"). The 
meaning, therefore, is that in addition to their personal names 
the proselytes will adopt the name of Israel as a title of honour. 
Cf. Ps. Ixxxvii. 4 f. 

6 — 8. There is no God but Jehovah and Israel is His Witness : 
this is the substance of the verses, and the proof is the famihar 
one from prophecy. 

6. the King of Israel] See on ch. xli. 21. 

the Lord of h o.sts^ This solemn appellation (see o n ch. i. 9) occurs 
here for the first_ time in this prophecy (cf. ch. xTv7~i3, xlvii. 4, 
xlviii. 2, 1i. 15 , h'v. 5). 

I am the first, and I am the lasl] So ch. xlviii. 12 ; see on xli. 4, 
and cf. Rev. i. 8, 17, xxii. 13. beside me there is no God] 

A fuller expression of monotheism than ch. xliii. 10. 

7. The proof of ;'. 6 is found in the incontestable fact of pro- 
phecy (as ch. xli. 22 ff., xliii. 9, 12, etc.). The verse as translated 
in A.V. and R.V. reads very awkwardly ; it would have to be 
paraphrased thus: "And which of the other gods shall call, etc., 
as I have done since I appointed the ancient people? " But the 
distance of the last clause from the "as I " on which it depends is 
so great as to inake the construction unnatural. It would be 
better, with some commentators, to suppose a parenthesis, and 
render thus: "And who, as I, proclaims (and let him declare it 
and set it in order before me) since I founded the people of 
antiquity? " But a parenthesis is always more or less suspicious 
in a Hebrew sentence, and this one is doubly so on account of the 
"and" which introduces it. The LXX. reads, "And who is like 
me? Let him stand and proclaim, etc." The additional verb 
("stand") is likely to be original, and the construction of the 
first part of the clause is faultless. The only difficulty is pre- 
sented by the temporal clause, "since I appointed," etc., on which 
see below. 

cair] means proclaim or "prophesy," as in ch. xl. 6. 

set it m order] Used of the arrangement of discourse, as Job 
xxxii. 14; Ps. 1. 21, v. 3. 

since I appointed...] Better: "since I founded the people of 
antiquity." Some take the expression "people of antiquity" to 
denote the earliest population of the world (cf ch. xli. 4). Ewald 
applies it to Israel, in the sense "everlasting people " (In Ez. 

54 ISA 1 All XF.IV. 7—0 

that arc coming, and that sliall come to pass, let thcni 

s Ulcchiro. Fear ye. not, neither be afraid: have I not 

declared unto thee of old, and shewed it ? and ye are my 

witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no 

<) Rock ; I know not any. The}- that fashion a graven 

' Or, declare unlo them 

xxvi. 2o the phrase is used of the shades in the underworld.) 
The idea might be that prophecy has been continuous during the 
long period since Israel was formed into a nation. 

Several difficulties in the verse are got rid of by an attractive 
emendation of Oort (followed by Duhm and many others), which 
makes this clause read: 'who hath announced from of old?" 

(il^U'O y'QL"n 'O instead of cSiyDy ''DCT)', cf. ch. xlv. 21) The 
whole \ersc would then be rendered : 

And who Is like me? Let him stand forth and proclaim. 

And declare it and set it in order to me. 

Who hath announced from of old future things? 

And things to come let them declare. 

things that are coming and that shall come, being in poetic 
parallelism, are equivalent e.xpressions ; there is no foundation 
for Delitzsch's notion that the former denotes the future in 
general, and the latter the immediate future. 

8. Fear ye nof] in the coming convulsions; the ground of 
confidence is that Jehovah has proved His control over these 
events by foretelling them. The verb for be afraid does not 
occur elsewhere and should probably be emended (•l^ri"!^! or 

from df old] as ch. xlv. 21, xlviii. 3, 5, 7. 

and ye are my ivilnesses] Cf. ch. xliii. 10, 12. 

no Rock] Cf. Deut. xxxii. 4, etc. 

/ know not any] Or, "unknown to me." The Heb. words, 
however, *nyT* hi, may be a corruption of ny?3. "apart from 
me." With another obvious emendation proposed bjr Houbigant 
(DX1 for rXI) the last half of the verse may be read as an 
indirect question, depending on "witnesses" (cf. LXX.) : whether 
there be a God beside me , or a Rock apart from me. 

9 — 20. This passage is the most elaborate and remorseless 
satire on the folly of idolatry in the whole book. Its genuineness 
was first called in question by Duhm, on the grounds that (a) it 
interrupts the connexion between vv. 6 — 8 and 21 f. ; (ft) the 
language, and still more the style and rhythm (or absence of 
rhythm?) are unlike anything in the prophecy, and (c) its cold 
didactic aim and prosaic love of detail are foreign to the glowdng 

ISAIAH XLIV. 9, 10 55 

image are all of them ^vanity; and their delectable 
things shall not profit : and their own witnesses see not, 
nor know ; that they may be ashamed. Who hath i 
fashioned a god, or molten a graven image that is proht- 
' Or, confusion 

"pathetic" genius of 11. Isaiah. These criticisms appear on the 
whole to justify the conclusion that the section is neither original 
nor relevant to its present context. The course of thought is 
as follows : 

(i) The makers of images are themselves frail men, and the 
gods they fashion cannot profit them (9 — 11). 

(2) The process of manufacture is then described in minute 
detail, shewing what an expenditure of human strength and 
contrivance is involved in the production of useless deities 

(12 f.). 

(^) Nay, the very material of which they may be composed is 
selected at haphazard from the trees of the forest, and might just 
as readily have been applied to cook the idolater's food (14 — 17). 

{4) Finally, with incisive and relentless logic, the writer 
exposes the strange infatuation which renders the idolater 
incapable of applying the most rudimentary principles of reason 
to his own actions (18 — 20). 

9 — 11. The argument opens with the assertion of the nothing- 
ness alike of the idol and its makers. 

9. a graven image] for "image" in general, as ch. xl. 19. The 
writer assumes that the god is the image and nothing more ; 
since the image is plainly the work of human hands, the god cannot 
be greater than men or able to save them. This of course is 
directly opposed to the fundamental assumption of the idolaters 
themselves, who distinguished between the image and the 
divinity represented by it (see on v. 11). 

vanity] Lit. "cha.os," as in xl. 17, xli. 29. 

their delectable things] "the objects in which they delight," 
i.e. the idols. 

and their own witnesses. . .] Render simply : and their witnesses ; 
their devotees, see ch. xliii. 9. Whitehouse plausibly suggests 
the reading Qrinny, "their worshippers," for Dimy, "their wit- 
nesses." The pronoun which suggests the "own" of A.V. and 
R.V. is marked by the so-called /JM«c/a extranrdinaria as suspicious 
and is therefore unaccented. If it is retained in the text (as it 
may very well be) the better translation is, "and as for their 
worshippers, they see not" (cf. v. 11). 

that they may be ashamed] The consequence of their ignorance 
expressed as a purpose. 

10. Who hath fashioned etc.] A rhetorical question : who 
has been such a fool? Or, "Wliosoever fashions a god has 

^6 ISAIAH XI.IX. lo— 12 

11 al)le for notliirig? Behold, ^all his fellows sliall he 
ashamed ; and the workmen, they are of men : let 
them all be gathered together, let them stand up ; they 

!2 shall fear, they shall be ashamed together. The smith 
^makcth an axe, and worketh in tlie coals, and fashioneth 
it with hammers, and worketh ii: with his strong arm: 

* Or, all that join themselves thereto ^ Or, sharpeneth a tool 

molten, etc.": he thought to produce a god, but has merely 
manufactured an image ! (Duhm). On molten a graven image 
sec ch. xl. ig. 

11. all his fellows] The word denotes the members of a guild, 
and is understood by R.V. of the gang of craftsmen employed in 
the making of the idol. It should rather be interpreted as tiic 
"adherents," the clientele of the false god himself, as in marg., 
"all that join themselves thereto." Cf. Hos. iv. 17 ("associated 
with idols") and i Cor. x. 20. are of men] belong to the 
category of men (xl. 17), and how can men produce a god? 
Duhm, changing the vowel-points, renders:' "Behold all the 
spells (cf. ch. xlvii. 9, 12) are put to shame, and as for enchant- 
ments (cf. ch. iii. 3), they are of men" ; an allusion to the magical 
process by which, in all systems of idolatry, the manufa,ctured 
image is transformed into a fetish, the residence of a divinity. 
Similarly Cheyne (Introd. p. 301). 

12, 13. This truth enforced by a description of the manu- 
facture of the idols. 

12. The smith] Lit. " the workman in iron," as opposed to the 
"workman in wood" of the next verse. 

maketh an axe] The word ma'dzdd in Jer. x. 3, as in late 
Heb., denotes a carpenter' s instrument (a.xe or adze), and in that 
sense is clearly out of place in this verse. Even if we take it to 
mean a "cutting instrument" for dividing iron on the anvil, we 
gain little; for the description is certainly not that of the manu- 
facture of an implement, whether for the smith or the carpenter. 
The I.XX., duplicating the last word (pointed IH*) of the previous 
verse, reads " The workman sharpens iron, etc." ; but this entirely 
destroys the parallelism between w. 12 and v. 13. There seems no 
resource but to omit the "axe" altogether as a marginal gloss by 
some reader who fell into the same error as the LXX. translator, 
and render: The smith works with the coals. 

fashioneth it (the iron core of the idol) with hammer';] Cf. ch. 
xli. 7. 

and worketh it with his strone artn] Gesenius cites in illustration 
two lines of Virgil (Georg. iv. 174 f.) : 

" Illi inter sese magna vi brachia tollunt 
In numerum, versantque tenaci forcipe ferrum." 

ISAIAH XLIV. 12—16 57 

yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth ; he drinketh 
no water, and is faint. The carpenter stretcheth out 13 
a Hne; he marketh it out with ^a pencil ; he shapeth it 
with planes, and he marketh it out with the compasses, 
and shapeth it after the figure of a man, according to 
the beauty of a man, to dwell in the house. He heweth 14 
him_ down cedars, and taketh the holm tree and the oak, 
and strengtheneth for himself one among the trees of 
the forest: he planteth 2 a fir tree, and the rain doth 
nourish it. Then shall it be for a man to burn ; and he 15 
taketh thereof, and warmeth himself; yea, he kindleth 
it, and baketh bread : yea, he maketh a god, and wor- 
shippeth it ; he maketh it a graven image, and faileth 
down thereto. He burneth ^part thereof in the fire ; with 16 

1 Or, red ochre " Or, an ash ^ Or, the half 

vea, he is hungry..-] The point is that the man who makes his 
own gofls exhausts his strength in the process ; contrast ch. xl. 31. 

13. The carpenter] Lit. "the workman in wood." 
stretcheth out a line] to mark off the dimensions of the future 

image on the block of wood. The word rendered pencil, Uke 
that for "planes" (which may mean "chisels" or any cutting 
implement), occurs only here. 

to dwell in a housed either a great temple, or a private shrine. 

14 — 17. The writer now goes back to the material of which 
this second kind of idol is made. 

14. He heweth] Perhap-- [He went] to hew; the anomalous con- 
struction in the Heb. is best explained by supposing the omission 
of the verb hdlak before likroth (so Marti). But the whole verse 
bristles with difficulties which baffle explanation. The LXX. 
omits the middle clauses, and reads : "He cut down a tree frorn 
the coppice, which the Lord planted, and the rain nourished." 
For px (= fir-tree; aw. \ey.) it must have read pN (not ~iX> 
as Stade and others have supposed). 

15. 16. Cf. Wisd. Sol. xiii. 11 — 13, and (with Lowth) Hor 
Sat. I. 8, I ff. : . 

"Olim truncus eram ficulnus, inutile lignum, 
Cum faber, incertus, scamnum faceretne Priapum, 
Maluit esse Deum." 
The word rendered "faileth down" (sdgad) is an Aramaic verb 
meaning "worship," recurring in the O.T. only vv. 17, 19 and 
ch. xlvi. 6. It is the root of the Arabic word mosque (rnusgid). 

16. part thereof] Lit. " half thereof," as opposed to " the residue 

58 ISAIAH WAV. 16—20 

•jiart tlu'ii'df he ciitrth flesli ; hv. roastc^th roast, and 
is satislifd : yea, lie vvarnielh himself, and saith, Aha, 

17 I am warm, 1 have seen the fire: and the residue thereof 
he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth 
down unto it and worsi)i})peth, and prayeth unto it, 

is and saith. Deliver me; for thou art my god. They 
know not, neither do they consider: for he hath ^shut . 
their eyes, that they cannot see ; and their hearts, 

19 that they cannot understand. And none callcth to 
mind, neither is there knowledge nor understanding 
to say, I ha\'c burned part of it in the fire ; yea, also 
I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have 
roasted flesh and eaten it: and shall I make the residue 
thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock 

20 of a tree? He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath 

' Or, the half - Heb. daubed. 

thereof" in v. 17. Since tlie two halves would make the whole 
and leave no "residue," it is advisable for the second part thereof 
to read on its coals, borrowing a phnise from the T,XX. (of. v. ig) ; 
and further, for an ob\'ious reason, to transpose the contiguous 
Heb. words for eatelh and roastelh. " Half of it he has burned in 
the hre, on its embers he roasts roast and eats flesh and is 

satisfied (17) And the rest of it he makes into a god, etc." 

18 — 20. But such is the infatuation of idolatry, that its blinded 
votaries never pause to reflect on their actions ; the idolater has 
not sense enough to say to himself in plain words what he has 

18. he kath shut their eves] Rather: their eyes are besmeared, 
as it were plastered over, so that they cannot see (a different verb, 
however, from that used by Isaiah in vi. 10, etc.). 

19. calleih to mind] Lit. "bringeth it back to his heart," i.e. 
"recalls in thought" (see ch. xlvi. 8; Deut. iv. 39, xxx. i; 
I Ki. viii. 47). 

part of it] See on v. 16. 

shall I make... fall down....>] Better: I will make, etc. 
abomination] A word often (after Deut.) applied to idols (Deut. 
vii. 26, xxxii. 16; Ezek. vii. 20, etc.). 

20. He feedeth on ashes] Lit. "a shepherd of ashes." No good 
sense can be extracted from the sentence. Duhm rather fanci- 
fullv suggests that the image may be that of a man trying to feed 
his flock on a pasture that has been reduced to ashes: "A 
shepherd of (or on) ashes is he whom a deceived heart hath turned 
aside" (from the ways of reason). Ehrlich reverses subj. and 

ISAIAH XLIV. 20—23 59 

turned him aside, that he cannot deHver his soul, nor 
say. Is there not a lie in my right hand? 

Remember these things, O Jacob; and Israel, for 21 
thou art my servant : I have formed thee ; thou art my 
servant: O Israel, ^thou shalt not be forgotten of mcL. 
I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, 22 
and, as a cloud, thy sins : return unto me ; for I have 
redeemed. thee. Sing, O ye heavens, for the Lord hath 23 
done it ; shout, ye lower parts of the earth ; break forth 
into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree 

1 Some ancient versions have, thou shouldest not forget me. 

obj., remarking that in Heb. the heart does not incHne the man, 
but the man the heart: "He who follows after vanity (ashes) 
has befooled his easily deceived heart"; — a construction which , 
he admits to be too subtle to commend itself to the mere Hebrew 
grammarian ! 

and he shall not deliver his soul] Cf. v. 17. 

75 there not a lie...'] Am I not cleaving to that which will 
disappoint my hope? 

21, 22. An admonition to Israel to realise its special relation 
to the one living and true God. 

21 . Remember these things] The truths enforced in the preceding 
passage. The reference seems to be to vv. 6 — 8, and not 9 — 20. 

thou shalt not be forgotten of me] The Heb. construction, a 
passive verb with accusative suffix, is abnormal. All the ancient 
versions and many commentators render "thou shalt (or wilt) 
not forget me"; but this is hardly defensible. The suffix must 
denote the indirect obj. (dative) as is sometimes the case with 
intransitive verbs. (See Davidson, Synt. § 73, R. 4.) For the 
sense, cf. ch. xl. 27, xlix. 14 ff. 

22. Cf. ch. xliii. 25. " The sense of being forgotten of God is 
produced by the consciousness of guilt; hence the promise of 
forgiveness is here repeated" (Dillmann). 

as a thick cloud... as a cloud] An image of transitoriness ; 
Hos. vi. 4, xiii,. 3; Job vii. q, xxx. 15. 

23. The prophet in a transport of joy calls on heaven and 
earth to celebrate the wonders of Israel's redemption. Cf. ch. 
xlii. 10 — 13, xlv. 8. The poetic outburst marks the end of the 

the Lord hath done it] The redemption is already as good as 
complete ; see the end of the verse. 

ye lower parts of the earth] Or, depths of the earth, the anti- 
thesis to "ye heavens." 

break forth into singing] Cf. ch. xiv. 7. 

6o ISAIAH WAV. 23 

therein: for the Lord liatli irdeeined Jacob, aiul will 
glorify himself in Israel. 

and will glorify /liniself] Cf. ch. xlix. 3 (Ix. 21; Ixi. 3). 

Ch. XLIV. 24 — XLV. 25. Jehovah's Commission to Cyrus, 
His anointed, whose victories shall bring about the 


The distinctive feature of this important section of the book 
is the prominence given to the person and work of the Persian 
conqueror, Cyrus. The leadinc; idea is no longer the relation of 
Israel to Jehovah, but the glorious effects that are to follow its 
deli\-erance tlirough the agency of this divinely chosen hero. In 
the earlier allusions to Cyrus (ch. xli. i — 4, 25 — 29) he is spoken 
of as one wliose remarkable career has challenged the attention 
of the world and illustrated the inability of the heathen religions 
to deal with the great crises of history. There have been abun- 
dant intimations that he is the destined instrument of Israel's 
restoration, but these have hitherto occupied a secondary place 
in the prophet's thoughts. Here, however, the figure of Cyrus is 
brought prominently on the scene, he is addressed directly and 
by name, and the ultimate scope of his mission is clearly unfolded. 
He is to set the exiles free, to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple; 
and the far-reaching moral result of his singular generosity to 
Israel will be the downfall of heatlienism and the universal 
conviction that Jehovah is the only God who is a Deliverer. 
There are five divisions : 

i. ch. xliv. 24 — 28 is an introduction to the central passage, 
w^hich immediately follows. Jehovah, still addressing Israel, 
describes Himself by a majestic series of attributes, gradually 
converging from the thought of His creative power to the 
particular point which is the subject of the present discourse. 
His selection of Cyrus as the instrument of His purpose. 

ii. ch. xlv. I — 8. The divine speaker now addresses Cyrus in 
person, promising to him an uninterrupted career of victory ( i — 3 > ; 
yet it is in the interest of Israel that he, a stranger to the true 
God, is thus called and commissioned (4); and the final issue of 
his achievements will be a general recognition throughout the 
world of the sole Godhead of Jehovah (5 — 7). The last verse (8) 
is a poetic interlude like ch. xlii. 10 ff., xliv. 23, etc. 

iii. vv. 9 — 13. Here the prophet turns aside to rebuke the 
murmurs of dissent which this novel announcement calls forth 
amongst his fellow-countrymen (g — -11). The answer to these 
cavillers is an assertion of the absolute sovereignty of Jehovah, 
who reaffirms His choice of Cyrus as the instrument of Israel's 
deliverance (12, 13). 

ISAIAH XLIV. 24, 25 61 

Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that 24 
formed thee from the womb : I am the Lord, that 
maketh aJl things; that stretcheth forth the heavens 
alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth; ^who is with 
me ? that frustrateth the tokens of the ^hars, and maketh 25 

1 Another reading is, by myself. " Or, boasters 

iv. vv. 14- -1 7. Turning again to Cyrus, the prophet in the 
name of Jehovah announces the subjugation of wealthy African 
peoples, who shall lay their treasures at his feet, and acknowledge 
the God of Israel as the only saving deity (14, 15). Speaking in 
his own name he points the contrast between the false religions 
and the true (16, 17). All modern commentators take the oracle 
as addressed to Israel, but that is a view which finds no adequate 
expression in the passage (see the notes). 

v. vv. 18 — 25. This deliverance of Israel culminates in salva- 
tion to the world at large. The passage contains some of the most 
striking thoughts in the whole prophecy. The character of 
Jehovah, His goodwill to men, is to be learned from His creation 
of a habitable world (18) and from the manner of His revelation 
to Israel (19). He has shewn Himself to be the only "righteous 
and saving God" (21) ; and the heathen are now invited to share 
in His salvation thi'ough faith in His sole divinity (20, 22). It is 
His irrevocable purpose thus to secure universal homage (23 — 25). 

24 — 28. Jehovah, the God of creation and of prophecy, has 
chosen Cyrus to execute His purpose with regard to Israel. The 
elegiac rhythm is here distinctly marked, and enables us to 
improve tlie text at one or two points. 

24. / am Jehovah] This is the central affirmation, resolved in 
what follows into a series of participial or relative clauses. 

that stretcheth... alone] Cf. ch. xl. 22: xlii. 5; Job ix. 8. The 
word alone, however, belongs metrically to the next clause : 
"Who alone maketh firm" (see on xlii. 5). 

who was with me?] i.e. "there was none to help me." R.V. 
here follows the consonantal text, which is sustained by LXX. 
and Vulg. and many Heb. MSS., and is decidedly preferable to 
the Massoretic 'punctuation rendered "by myself" (see marg.). 

25, 26 a. The overthrow of heathen soothsajdng and the 
establishment of true prophecy as it existed in Israel. 

25. the signs of the liars] Haupt has suggested that both here 
and in Jer. 1. 36 the word for "liars" DHl should be read D''~i2 
(bdrtm) = hayitspices (inspectors of entrails) from Ass. bariH. The 
sense is certainly appropriate. The "signs" (see Deut. xiii. i f.) 
referred to are the omens on which the diviners based their forecasts 
of the future How much reliance was placed on such prognostica- 
tions by the Babylonians will be seen from ch. xlvii. (cf. also 
Ezek. xxi. 26). 

(.2 ISA! All XI. IV. 25—28 

diviners mad ; tluit turncth wise men baekward, and 
2(1 niaketh their knowledge focilisli : tliat contirmeth the 
word of his ser\ant, and performetii the counsel of his 
messengers; that saith of Jerusah'm, She shall be in- 
habited ; and of the cities of Judah, They shall be built, 

27 and I will raise up the waste places thereof : that saith 

28 to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up th}- ri\'ers: that 

diviners] See on ch. iii. 2. 

26a. that conjirmeth] is the antithesis to "that f rustiatoth " 
in V. 25. (Cf. Jer. xxix. 10, xxxiii. 14.) 

the word of his servant... the counsel of his messengers] arc parallel 
expressions for the word of prophecy. The sing, "servant" 
presents some difficulty. That it is equivalent to "prophet" 
is clear from the context ; but that a particular prophet, such 
as Jeremiah or the writer himself, is meant is extremely im- 
probable. It might conceivably be used of the prophets collec- 
tively, or of Israel as the bearer of the prophetic word, but the 
parallelism with " messengers " in the next clause militates against 
both these interpretations. The word should be pointed as a 
plural, — his servants ; which is the reading of the Codex A of 
the LXX. The word perfornieth is to be omitted (see below). 

26 h. At this point, as Delitzsch obsei-ves, the transition is 
made to special predictions "bearing on the restoration of Israel. 
The first clause should be restored thus, with the help of the 
variant in v. 28 h : 

That saith of Jerusalem, She shall be inhabited, 
And of the Temple, Thou shalt be founded. 
It would seem that the words were in the first instance transferred 
(whether by accident or by design it is difficult to say) to the end 
of the section, and afterwards restored partially to their proper 
place, carrying with them the preceding verb DX""' (perform) 
which exceeds the metre in 26 a, but stands rightly in 28 a. 

27. the deep] is a figure for the obstacles to the deliverance of 
Israel. It has been thought by some commentators (including 
Vitringa, Lowth and Delitzsch) that the verse contains an 
allusion to the well-known stratagem by which Cyrus is said to 
have got possession of Babylon (Herodotus i. 185 — 191). The 
Hebrew word for "deep" might no doubt be applied to a river, 
as a cognate word is in Zech. x. 11. But the recently discovered 
Cyrus-inscriptions seem to shew that the narrative of Herodotus 
is legendar3\ See Introd. p. xxxvi. 

28. The series of predicates culminates in the mention by 
name of the conqueror of Babylon and liberator of Israel. The 
name Cj'rus is in Persian Kiirush, in Babylonian Kiirash, in 
Greek Kvpos. The traditional Hebrew pronunciation is Koresh, 


saith of 1 Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform 
all my pleasure : even saying of Jerusalem, She shall be 
built ; 2and to the temple. Thy foundation shall be laid. 

' Heb. Coresh. 

' Or, and the foundation of the temple shall be laid 

but it is probable tliat the original form preserved the character- 
istic long It which appears in the other languages. On the career 
of Cyrus see Introduction, pp. xxxv ft. 

He is my shepherd] Or simply, My Shepherd. "Shepherd" 
here means "ruler" as in Jer. iii. 15; Ezek. xxxiv. pass.; Mic. 
V. 5 : comp. the Homeric ■jroL/j.eves \au;v. It is one of the honorific 
titles alluded to in ch. xlv. 4. Some read "My Friend" ("'p^)- 

perform all my pleasure'] Or, complete all my purpose ; cf. 
ch. xlvi. 10, xlviii. 14, liii. 10. This use of the Heb. word for 
"pleasure " illustrates the transition to its later sense of " business " 
(ch. Iviii. 3, 13) or "matter" (Eccl. v. 8, viii. 6). Comp. Arab. 
shay' (= thing) from shaa (to will). 

eveyi saying] If the Heb. text were right the meaning would be 
that Cyrus would accomplish Jehovah's purpose by giving the 
order for the rebuilding of the Temple etc. LXX. and Vulg. 
read "that saith," substituting a participle for the inf. of the 
Heb. But the whole clause is to be deleted as a misplaced 
duplicate from v. 26 (see above). 

According to_Josej)hus [Ant. xi, i. 2) it was the reading of this 
passagFThatTFirefr Cyrus with the ambition to restor_e_the Jewish 

Templ e and nationality Ihe_ statement, if true_,^_wouLd_af course 

detract nothing from the significance of the prophecy. But it 
has no claim to be accepted, and would assuredly never have been 
made but for the belief that the words were written by Isaiah 
"one hundred and forty years before the destruction of the 

xlv. 1 — 7. The passage should be read in connexion with the 
other Cyrus-poam xli. 2— ^4T -fllere a description of the astonishing 
successes of the Persian hero as visible to all the world ; here, in 

purpose m raisingliim up, and a promise of still greater triumph 
in the immediate future. The idea that the true God has made 
a personal revelation of Himself to the mind of Cyrus is not 
implied ; Cyrus is to learn the religious significance of his mission 
from its results [v. 3), just as mankind at large comes to under- 
stand it (v. 6). There is a starthng resemblance between some 
of the expressions here used of Jehovah's choice of Cyrus, and 
those employed by the Babylonian writer of the "Annalistic 
Tablet" in describing him as the favourite of Marduk. We 
read there that "Marduk... appointed a prince who should guide 
aright the wish of the heart which his hand upholds, even Cyrus . . . ; " 

'M ISA 1 All XLV. I, J 

45 Thus s.iitli the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, wliose 

riglit luuid I have hoklen, to subdue nations before liini, 

and I will loose the loins of kings; to open the door^ 

2 before him, and the gates shall not be shut; I will go 

before thee, and make the rugged places plain : I will 

that he "has proclaimed his title; for the sovereignty of all the 
world does he commemorate his name," and that he " beheld with 
joy the deeds of his viceregent, who wcis righteous in hand and 
heart," and that "Uke a friend and comrade he went at his side." 
It is probably an example of the prophet's familiarity with what 
has been called the "court style" of Babylon. (Kittel, Zeiisch. 
f. d. alttest. Wiss. 1898, 149 ff.) 

1. After Jehovah, the LXX. appears to have read 7Nn, "the 
Deity" (cf. xlii. 5), which should probably be taken into the text. 

to his anointed, to Cyrus'\ The Heb. word for "anointed" 
(mdshidh), when used as a substantive, is almost confined to the 
kings of Israel ; although in later times there was a tendency to 
employ it in a wider sense (e.g. of the Patriarchs in Ps. cv. 15, 
of the people in Hab. iii. 13). Unless Ps. ii. 2 be an exception, 
it is never used in the O.T. of the future ideal king (the Messiah) ; 
hence the idea that the role of the Messianic king is by the prophet 
transferred to Cyrus is not to be entertained. The title simply 
designates him as one consecrated by Jehovah to be His agent 
and representative. This, however, is the only passage where 
the title is bestowed upon a foreign ruler; Nebuchadnezzar is 
called the "ser\'ant" of Jehovah (Jer. xxv. 9, xxvii. 6, xliii. 10), 
but the more august designation of "His Anointed" is reserved 
for one who, as the deliverer of Israel and the instrument of the 
overthrow of polytheism, stands in a still closer relation to 
Jehovah's purpose. Comp. "My Shepherd" in ch. xUv. 28; 
also ch. xlvi. 11, xlviii. 14. 

to subdue etc.] We may render : 

Subduing before him nations. 
And ungirding the loins of kings; 

Opening before him doors. 

And gates that they be not shut; 

the infinitive construction being twice resolved into the finite 
verb. To loose (Ut. "open") is to ungird ; see i Ki. xx. 11, where 
the same verb forms the contrast to "gird." 

2, 3. Speaking directly to His Anointed, Jehovah assures him 
of His continued support in the enterprise that still lies before 

2. the rugs;ed places'] Lit. " protube ranc es " or " swel ls." The 
original word (see on ch. Ixiii. i), which ddes not occur elsewhere 
as a noun, appears to mean " swollen " or 'I tumid " ; and denotes 

ISAIAH XLV. 2, 3 65 

break in pieces the doors of brass, and cut in sunder the 
bars of iron : and I wih give thee the treasures of dark- 3 
ness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest 
know that I am the Lord, which call thee by thy name, 

"hills." Comp.Ovid. .4 mor. II. 16.51 ("tumidisubsiditemontes"), 
and Milton's 

So high as heaved the tumid hills, so low 
Down sunk a hollow bottom broad and deep. 

(Paradise Lost. Bk vii. 288.) 
'the doors of brass] Babylon had 100 gates "all of brass," 
according to the description of Herodotus (i. 179)- Cf. Ps. 
cvii. 16. 

3. the treasures of darkness'] i.e. treasures hid in darkness. The 
following word rendered hidden riches (Heb. niatmon, held by 
some to be the original of the N.T. "Mammon") means properly 
treasure hidden underground (Job iii. 21 ; Prov. ii. 4 ; Jer. xli. 8). 
The treasures referred to are chiefly the loot of Sardis, which 
Xenophon describes as "the richest citj' of Asia next to Babylon " 
(Cyro/?. VII. 2. 11), and of Babylon itself (Jer. 1. 37, h. 13). If, as 
is probable, the captuft of the former city was past before the 
date of the prophecy, rumours of the fabulous wealth of Croesus, 
which then found its way into the coffers of Cyrus, may have 
reached the prophet. 

thai thou mavest knoiv that] To omit these words, and read 
simplv " I am Jehovah, etc." (Duhm and Staerk),is a too hazardous 
expedient for getting rid of the seeming contradiction with the 
closing words of vv. 4 and 5. The prophet expects that Cyrus 
will come to acknowledge Jehovah as the true God and the 
author of his success (see ch. xh. 25). Whether this hope was 
in any way or degree realised is more than ever doubtful since 
the discovery of cuneiform inscriptions in whicli Cyrus uses the 
language of crude polytheism [Records of the Past, Vol. v. pp. 
167 f.). [Cf. Sayce, Higher Criticism and the Monuments, pp. 507 
— 511.] Many elements of the prophecy, such as the universal 
extinction of idolatry, remained unfulfilled, and it is quite 
credible that the anticipated conversion of Cyrus to the true 
faith is one of them (see Ryle's note on Ezra i. 2 in Cambridge 
Bible for Schools). The prophet does not explain the process by 
which this spiritual change is to be brought about, but he doubtless 
regards it as produced by the evidence of prophecy, so frequently 
dwelt upon in the first nine chapters of the book. The wonderful 
successes of Cyrus marked him out, to the mind of antiquity, as 
a favourite of the gods ; but the further conviction that Jehovah 
alone is God proceeds from the knowledge that He alone has 
foretold his appearance. 

call thee by thy name] See on xliii. i. 

(«. ISAlAil XLW 3—7 

1 o\on the Ciutl ul Israel, l-'or Jacob my servant's sake, 
aiul Israel my chosen, I have called thee b}' th}/ name: 
I have surnamed thee, though thou liast not known me. 

5 I am the Lord, and there is none else ; beside me there 
is no God : I will gird thee, though thou hast not known 

6 me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, 
and from the west, that there is none beside me : I am 

7 the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and 

4. The remainder of the section announces Jehovah's purjiOse 
in raising up Cyrus, which is twofold: (i) the hberation and 
exaltation of His Servant Israel {v. 4), and (2) that His Godliead 
may be acknowledged throughout the world {v. 6). These two 
motives are inseparable, since it is only through Israel that the 
character of Jehovah can be made known to the nations. Hence 
great as the mission of Cyrus is, he is still but the instrument, 
while Israel is the goal, of the divine activity. 

/ have surnamed thee] i.e. bestowed on thee such honourable 
appellations as "My Shepherd," "My Anointed." See on 
ch. xliv. 5. 

though thou hast not known me] Delitzsch and others somewhat 
strangely take this to mean "before thou hadst being." But 
the words present no difficulty in their natural sense, which is 
that Cyrus entered on his career of conquest ignorant of the true 
God who made his way prosperous. 

5. / gird thee] The contrast to "loose the loins of kings" in 

V. I. 

6. The ultimate purpose of the conquest of Cyrus is the 
universal recognition of the truth asserted in v. 5, the sole divinity 
of Jehovah. 

from the west] ■ Lit. from the going down thereof. (On 'mission 
of mappiq see Davidson, Grammar. § ig, R. c.) 

7. It has been very generally supposed that the expressions of 
this verse cover a polemic against the Zoroastrian dualism, with 
its eternal antagonism between Ahuramazda, the god of light 
and of goodness, and Ahnman, the god of darkness and evil. 
The prophet's language, however, is perfectly general, and it is 
hardly probable that he would have contented himself with a 
vague allusion to so important a controversy. It is more likely 
therefore that the only dualism here referred to is the dualism 
latent in ever^^ polytheistic system, viz. the ascription of good 
and evil events to different classes of deities. The context shews 
that the writer is thinking of the effect of Jehovah's victory, not 
specially on Cyrus, but upon men in general ; and the truth he 
asserts is simply that Jehovah as the only God is the disposer of 
all events, good and evil alike. 

ISAIAH XLV. 7, 8 * 67 

create darkness ; I make peace, and create evil ; I am 
the Lord, that doeth all these things. 

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies 8 
pour down righteousness : let the earth open, that they 
may ^ bring forth salvation, and let her cause righteous- 
ness to spring up together ; I the Lord have created it. 

^ Or, be fruitful in salvation 

and create evil] i.e. not moral evil, but physical evil, calamity. 
Cf. Am. iii. 6, "shall evil befall a city and Jehovah hath not done 
it?" The prophet's words are starthngly bold, but they do not 
go beyond the common O.T. doctrine on the subject, which is 
free from the speculative difficulties that readily suggest them- 
selves to the mind of a modern reader. There is no thought in 
the O.T. of reducing all evil, moral and physical, to a single 
principle. Moral evil proceeds from the will of man, physical 
evil from the will of God, who sends it as the punishment of sin. 
The expression "create evil" imphes nothing more than that. It 
is true (as we see from Jeremiah 1 that the indiscriminateness 
of physical calamities had begun to cause perplexity in the age 
to which the prophecy belongs. But the discussion of that 
question never shook either of the two positions, that sin originates 
in man, and that God is the author of calamity. 

8. A lyrical effusion, caUed forth by the thought of the 
blessings that will follow the triumph of the true religion. The 
heavens are represented as showering down gracious influences, 
which fructify the earth and cause it to bring forth the fruits of 
salvation. For the figure of the verse, cf. ch. Iv. 10 ; Hos. ii. 21 f. ; 
Ps. Ixxii. 6; and esp. Ps. fxxxv. 11 ("truth springs out of the 
earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven"). 

Drop down] is a causative verb, the obj. being "righteousness" 
in the next line. 

that they may bring forth etc.] Rather: let salvation and [...] 
spring forth; let her (the earth) cause righteousness to spring up. 
The plural verb causes some difficulty. R.V. (and A.V.) appear 
to take heavens 'and earth as subj . ; but this is hardly possible, 
first because they belong to different distichs, and secondly, 
because the verb is always intrans. (Deut. x.xix. 17 is no ex- 
ception). Perhaps a word has been omitted from the text. 

Two words are here used for righteousness, that which comes 
down from heaven is zedek, that which springs from the earth is 
zeddkdh. The figure might suggest that zedek is the cause of 
which zeddkdh is the effect; the former being the divine "right" 
which establishes salvation, etc., and the latter the human order 
which is an element of it. Salvation (yesha') which ordinarily 
means "deliverance" appears here to be used in its wider sense 

68 -ISAIAH XLV. 9— ij 

9 Woe unto him tliat strixcth witli his Maker! a pot- 
slierd anionic the })otshenls of thceartli! Sliall the clay 
say to Iiiin tliat fashioneth it. Whot niakcst thou? or 

10 thy work, lie liath no hands? Woe unto him that saith 
unto a father, What begettest thou? or to a woman, 

11 Witli what travailest thou? Thus saith the Lord, the 
Holy One of Israel, and his Maker : Ask me of the things 

of "welfare," like the kindred noun in Job xxx. 15 ("my welfare 
is passed away as a cloud"). 

9 — 13. These verses are addressed to a section of the exiles 
wlio resented the idea of deliverance through an eartlily monarcii. 
The strong word "strive" and the emphatic re-assertion of the 
mission of Cyrus (v. 13), as well as the connexion with vv. i — 8, 
shew that deliberate opposition to the divine purpose as declared 
by the prophet, and not mere faint-hearted unbelief (as in ch. 
xl. 27, li. 13), is here referred to. We know too little of the 
circumstances to understand the precise state of mind from which 
the objection proceeded. It maj' have arisen from reluctance to 
entertain the prospect of deliverance through a foreign conqueror, 
instead of through an Israelite king, as ancient prophecies seemed 
to promise (e.g. Jer. xxx. 21). More probably it was a too literal 
clinging to the expectation of the purely miraculous redemption 
so often delineated in this very prophecy, which caused the exiles 
to resent the idea of political salvation through human agency 
(so Ehrlich). 

9. his Maker] The same word as " him that fashioned it " in the 
second half of the verse. It is the ordinary word for "potter." 

a potsherd among (lit. with) the potsherds of the earth .'] Or, "a 
potsherd like (no better than) an earthen potsherd." "With" may 
mean "among" (as a synonymous word does in Ps. Ixix. 28), or 
"like" (Job ix. 26), but the use of the same preposition in two 
different senses in one sentence is no doubt harsh. 

or thy tvork. He hath no hands'] i.e. no power. Delitzsch instances 
an identical Arabic phrase (Id yadai lahu = "it is not in his 
power"). The LXX. reads "Thou" instead of "He," and several 
commentators have suggested a transposition of the suffixes in 
the original: "or his w'ork, Thou hast no hands." The emenda- 
tion is plausible, though perhaps hardly necessary. 

10. The impropriety of contending with God exhibited in a 
still more repellent light. "The rudest and most outrageous 
intrusion into an unspeakably delicate and sacred relationship" 

11. The two previous verses were probably spoken by the 
prophet in his own name ; here Jehovah addresses the same 
persons, introducing Himself as the Holy One of Israel (xli. 14) 
and his Maker (v. 9). If the text be quite accurate, Ask me must 

ISAIAH XLV. II— 13 69 

that are to come ; concerning my sons, and concerning 
the work of my hands, command ye me. I have made 12 
the earth, and created man upon it : I, even my hands, 
have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have 
I commanded. I have raised him up in righteousness, 15 
and I will make straight all his ways : he shall build 
my city, and he shall let m}' exiles go free, not for price 
nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts. 

mean "ask me, but do not criticise me," and command me must 
mean "leave to my care" (as i Sam. xiii. 14, xxv. 30; 2 Sam. 
vi.»2i, vii. II). But Cheyne well observes that these parallels 
are not exact, the verb being used of a charge laid on an inferior 
by a superior ; and it is doubtful if it could be suitably employed 
of committing anything to the charge of God. He supposes that 
by an easily explicable omission of a consonant an imperf has 
been changed into an imper. ; and his translation is more forcible 
than anj^ that can be obtained from the received text : concerning 
things to corns (xli. 23, xliv. 7) will ye question (i.e. "interrogate" 
in a hostile sense) me? and concerning... the work of my hands 
will ye lay commands upon me? Ehrlich goes a step further, 
changing '„-■ nrritsH into L'Tl Dritsn : Will ye (emph.) question 
me concerning my sons, etc. ? 

coiwerning my sons] According to the Heb. accentuation, 
tliese words go with what follows, where they are both metrically 
and logically superfluous. If retained they must be taken with 
the previous line. By most they are omitted as a gloss based 
on V. 10. 

12 is introductory to ?'. 13 ; it is the Creator of all things who 
has destined Cyrus to be the emancipator of Israel. 

/, even my hands'] The "I" merely lends emphasis to the 
possessive: "my hands, and not another's." 

all their host (the stars, not the angels, xl. 26) have I commanded] 
Or, "ordained." 

13. 7 (again emphatic) have raised him (Cyrus) up in righteous- 
ness] i.e. in accordance with a consistent, straightforward and 
right purpose (cf. ch. xlii. 6). Cf. also ch. xli. 2, 25, etc. 

he (and no other) shall build my city etc.] See ch. xliv. 27 f. 

not for price nor reward?^ Lit. "not for hire and not for a 
bribe." These words remove a difficulty which would naturally 
suggest itself to the exiles : viz. that there was no conceivable 
motive that could induce Cyrus to espouse the cause of Israel. 
The divine answer is that he will do so from an inward impulse 
{bpfjir) Tis, as Josephus expresses it) inspired by Jehovah. There 
is an apparent contradiction between this assurance and the idea 
of ch. xliii. 3 f. The restoration of Israel is perhaps conceived 

70 ISAIAH XLV. i^ 

14 Thus saith tlic Lt>RD, The hihoiir of Egypt, and tlie 
nicrchanthseof lithiopia.and thcSabeans, men of stature, 
shall come o\-ct unto tliee, and they shall be thine; they 
shall go after thee; in chains they shall come over: 
and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make 

as preceding the Persian conquest of Egypt and Ethiopia {v. 14) ; 
that is the reward subsequently given to Cyrus, but not the 
inducement on which he acted. 

14 — 17. The collapse nf the heathen religions is here dramatic- 
ally represented under the image of a procession of conquered 
nations of Africa, who pass before Israel, as tributaries and slaves, 
acknowledging that Israel's God is the only true divinity. TJiis 
seems to be the sense, but see below on v. 14. 

14. The peoples mentioned are the same as those named in 
ch. xliii. 3 (see on the passage) as the "ransom" given for Israel, 
and are represented here as conquered by Cyrus, the vicegerent 
and anointed of Jehovah. The commonly accepted interpretation 
is that the treasures of the nations are made over to Israel by Cyrus, 
while the nations themselves recognise the exaltation of Israel 
as the goal of the Persian victories, and worship Jehovah as the 
only true God. On this interpretation, which leaves a good deal 
to the imagination of the reader, the words are addressed to 
Israel. It would certainly be simpler, and more in harmony with 
xliii. 3, to adopt the old and neglected opinion (mentioned by 
Jerome and supported by Ibn Ezra and Grotius) that Cyrus is 
the person addressed ; and it seems to us that with the textual 
change proposed by Ehrlich (see below) this view can be sustained. 
The fem. suffixes throughout the verse should on either theory 
be changed to masc. 

The earnings of Egypt etc.] Duhm and others amend the text 
so as to read "The fellah (-V', Jer. lii. 16) of Egypt and the 
merchant of Kush, and the Sabeans, etc." — a needless and im- 
probable alteration. The following verb come over means "pass 
into one's possession" (cf. Num. xxvii. 7); it is the transference 
of property, not the submission of persons that is directly spoken 

and the Sabeans, men of stature'] (see on ch. xviii. 2). The 
Sabeans are here considered as slaves. 

in fetters they shall come over] The verb here should either be 
omitted or read "shall serve"; the metre is too uncertain to 
determine whether it is redundant or not. 

The word for make supplication is never used except of prayer 

to God. Hence Ehrlich reads for 1^*?K, "|*n7N ^Nl, "and to 
thy God." But if this be right, must we not go further and take 
the next clause sus addressed to Jehovah (as v. 15)? See next 

ISAIAH XLV. 14—17 71 

supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; 
and there is none else, there is no God. Verily thou art 15 
a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour. 
They shall be ashamed, yea, confounded, all of them: 16 
they shall go into confusion together that are makers of 
idols. But Israel shall be saved by the Lord with an 17 
everlasting salvation : ye shall not be ashamed nor con- 
founded world without end. 

Surely God is in thee] Or, In thee only is God. Thus rendered 
the words must be addressed to Israel by the overawed African • 
people';. But, following out the suggestion of the last note, we 
may take the prep, as Beth essentiae, and render they shall make 
supplication unto thy God, [saying,] Only (Surely) thou art a God 
(addressed to the Almighty). The only question is whether the 
God of Israel (v. 15) could naturally be spoken of as the God of 
Cyrus. In view of v. 3, that seems quite possible. 

15. Continuing the confession of the heathen. 

a God that hidest thyself] "a self-concealing deity." The pro- 
phet would hardly have used this language in his own name 
(see V. 19). But to the nations of the world Jehovah had hitherto 
been a hidden deity; His power and glory had never been re- 
flected in the fortunes of His own people. Now at length He is 
revealed in His true character, as a "Saviour" (or Deliverer) (see 
on ch. xliii. 3). Comp., however, ch. Iv. 8 f . ; Deut. xxix. 29; 
Prov. XXV. 2, for a sense in which Jehovah might be said to hide 
Himself even from Israel. 

16. 17. The prophet now speaks, presenting in sharp contrast 
the confusion of the idolaters {v. 16) and the everlasting salvation 
enjoyed by Israel. The first iour verbs should be rendered as 
presents. The perfect in Heb. depicts that which will have 
happened in that day. 

The word for "idol" is used in the sense of "form" in Ps. 
xlix. 14 (R.V. marg.), only here of an idolatrous image. 

17. with an everlasting salvation] which shall never be turned 
into confusion. The state of things introduced by the deliverance 
is final, including the manifestation of Jehovah as He is, and such 
a union between Him and His people as can never be dssolved. 
As is usual in the prophets, the perfect dispensation, or what is 
called the Messianic age, is conceived as issuing immediately from 
the historical crisis which is the subject of the prophecy, in this 
case the deliverance from Babylon. 

luorld without end] More literally : to all eternity. The exact 
expression does not occur again. 

18 — 25. The section on the mission of Cyrus (ch. xliv. 24 ff.) 
closes here with the announcement of a salvation as universal as 

",1 ISAIAH XLV. iS— 20 

iS For thus saitli tlie Lord that created tlie heavens; 
he is God ; that formed the earth and made it ; he estab- 
hshed it, he created it not ^a waste, he formed it to be 
inhabited:. I am the Lord; and there is none else. 

19 I have not spoken in secret, in a place of the land of 
darkness ; I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me 
^in vain : I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare 

20 things that are right. Assemble yourselves and come ; 

^ Or, in vain ' Or, as in a waste 

it is eternal (v. 17). A purpose of universal salvation is alone in 
harmony with the character of tlie God who made the world for 
man to dwell in {v. 18) and whose revelation of Himself to Israel 
bears the signature of absolute veracity (v. 19). 

18. The first half of the verse might be better rendered thus : 
For thus saith Jehovah : 

The Creator of the heavens — He (alone", is the God ; 
The former and maker of the earth — He hath set it fast. 
he created it not a waste] Hcb. ioJiti (Gen. i. 2). The significance 
of the expression is seen from the contrast which immediately 

he formed it to be inhabited] and therefore the end of His ways 
cannot be the destruction of the race for which He has prepared the 
earth. Jehovah's final purpose must be the salvation of mankind. 

19. The same gracious attitude towards humanity is manifest 
in the manner of Jehovah's revelation to Israel. It has been 
intelligible, explicit, and (if the word may be used) candid. 

in a place of the land of darkness] The "land of darkness" 
might be the under-world, from which dubious and ambiguous 
oracles were obtained by necromancy and other magical arts 
(ch. viii. 19; I Sam. xxviii. 7 ff.). But the sense is perhaps 
sufficiently explained (in accordance with what follows) by 
Jer. ii. 31: "Have I been a wilderness unto Israel, a land of 
darkness?" Jehovah's revelation has not been Uke a dark, 
trackless desert, but a light in which men might walk towards 
an assured goal. 

/ said not... Seek ye me in vain} Lit. in a waste [iohiX, as v. 18), 
i.e. without definite guidance and without hope of result. When 
Jehovah said, "Seek me," He meant that He should be found 
(Jer. xxix. 13) ; in other words He has dealt openlj' and sincerely 
with His people. It is this quality of revelation that is denoted 
by the word righteousness in the last line of the verse. It is used 
in its ethical sense of "trustworthiness" or straightforwardness, 
— perfect correspondence between deeds and words. 

things that are righf] uprightness. The plural, as always in this 
word, expresses the abstract idea (see ch. xxvi. 7). 

ISAIAH XLV. 20-22 73 

draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations : 
they have no knowledge that carry the wood of their 
graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. 
Declare ye, and ^bring it forth; yea, let them take 21 
counsel together: who hath shewed this from ancient 
time? who hath declared it of old? have not I the 
Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God 
and a saviour ; there is none beside me. Look unto me, 22 
and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth : for I am God, 

1 Or, bring them near 

20, 21. The heathen are now summoned together that they 
may consider this attribute of Jehovah's character, as illustrated 
by the prediction of the victories of Cyrus. The question sub- 
mitted to tliem is the same as in xU. i — 4, 21- — 29, xliii. 9—13: 
who has foretold these events? But this scene is imagined as 
taking place after the great crisis is over ; hence those addressed 
are the escaped of the nations (cf. Jer. h. 50), the survivors of a 
world-wide judgement, of which Cyrus is the instrument (see 
V. 14). 

20. that carry the wood...'] in religious processions (Am. v. 26), 
or perhaps into battle (2 Sam. v. 21). That idols have to be 
carried is a sign of their powerlessness (xlvi. i f. ; Jer. x. 5). 

a god that cannot save] The contrast in the end oi v. 21. 

21. bring it forth] Some such object as "your strong argu- 
ments" (xii. 21) must be supplied, and has probably dropped out 
of the text. 

who hath shewed this...?] i.e. the rise of Cyrus and his conquests. 

a just God. . .beside me] Better as a single sentence : a righteous 
God and a Deliverer there is not besides me. Both attributes 
have been exhibited in the recent crisis; righteousness (see on 
V. 19) in the explicit predictions of Cyrus, and salvation in the 
deliverance of Israel. 

22 — 25. The demonstration of Jehovah's deity is followed by 
the proclamation of salvation to all mankind, and the declaration 
of His purpose that all the world shall worship Him. 

22. Look unto me] is strictly Turn unto me (sc. for help), a 
phrase elsewhere used of the acknowledgment of false gods 
(Lev. xix. 4; Hos. iii. i; Deut. xxx. 17, etc., xxxi. 18, etc.; cf. 
Job V. i). The second imperative expresses the consequence of 
the first: "Turn to Me and ye shall be saved." "Salvation" 
here has still its ordinary sense of deliverance ; although the 
great judgement is past, it is plainly assumed that only those 
who own Jehovah's sovereignty shall be spared {v. 23). But 
the thought that it depends on knowledge of the true God, who 

74 ISAIAH XLV. 22—24 

2? and there is none else. By my^^clf have 1 sworn, 4he 
word is gone forth from my mouth in righteousness, and 
shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, 

24 everv' tongue shall swear. Only in the Lord, ^shall one 
say ^unto me, is righteousness and strength: even to 

' Or, righteousness is gone forth from my mouth, a word which 
shall not return Or, the word is gone forth from a mouth of righteous- 
ness, and shall not return 

- Or, hath one said ' Or, of 

is the God of salvation, conveys the suggestion at least of a more 
positive meaning; of. John xvii. 3. 

23. By myself haue I sworn] Qi. Gen. xxii. lO; Jer. xxii. 5; 
and see Heb. vi. 13. The form of Jehovah's oath by Himself is 
given in ch. xlix. 18, "as I live, saith Jehovah." 

the ivord ts gone forth etc.] Render as marg. : righteousness is 
gone forth from my mouth, a word which (lit. "and it") shaii 
not return (cf. ch. Iv. 10 f.). 

righteousness here means that which shall be verified, — a word 
to which the deed will correspond. 

every knee shall bow (in homage, i Ki. xix. tS), every tongue shall 
swear (fealty, ch. xix. i8)] The reading "confess" is substituted 
for "swear" in some codices of the LXX., as in Rom. xiv. 11, 
Phil. ii. 10, II. 

24, 25 express the faith of the religious community of the future. 
"Only through Jehovah can one emerge victoriously from the 
world-crisis, here conceived as a great conflict of right; without 
Him, or still worse opposed to Him, one is a partizan of the tJttwv 
X670S, the causa infirmior, and succumbs in shame" (Duhm). 

24. Only in the Loud, shall one say unto me] Render : saying. 
Only in the Lord. The words t^x ^^, "to me hath one said," 
give no sense when combined as in R.V. By disregarding the 
Heb. accents (as A.\' ), we obtain a passable rendering: "(Jnly 
in Jehovah have I, (shall one say) righteousness, etc." ; al- 
though it would be necessary to change the pert to impf. (so 
Duhm). The easiest solution is to read with LXX. "lOS^, 
"saying," and transfer this to the beginning of the verse, as 
above. The LXX. continues v. 23 to this word, and thereby 
makes nonsense of the rest of u. 24. 

righteousness] Lit. " righteousnesses," the idea being intensified 
by the plural. It is often used of the mighty acts of Jehovah, 
the individual instances in which His righteous character is 
manifested (i Sam. xii. 7; Mi. vi. 5; Ps. Ixxi. 15 fi., etc.); here 
in like manner it must denote the experiences through which a 
right relation to God is realised. The parallelism with " strength " 

ISAIAH XLV. 24, 25 75 

him shall men come, and all the}^ that were incensed 
against him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all 25 
the seed of Israel be justified, and shail glory. 

shews that it is almost identical with salvation or victory (see on 
ch. xh. 2 and xlvi. 13). 

even to him... ashamed] to him shall come with shame all that 
were incensed (xli. 11) against him. The verb "be ashamed" 
seems merely to be a qualification of "shall come." 

25. be justified] Lit. be righteous, i.e. "enjoy righteousness" 
in the same sense as v. 24. Comp. Jer. xxiii. 6 ("Jehovah [is] 
our Righteousness"). 

Ch. xlvi. The downfall of the gods of Babylon. 

In this and the two following chapters the person of Cyrus is 
only incidentally referred to; the leading idea is now the. over- 
throw of Babylon, and the emancipation of Israel from its tyranny. 
Ch. xlvi. begins with the fall of the deities of the city; and from 
their proved impotence, as contrasted with the omnipotence 
of Jehovah, proceeds to draw lessons for various classes among 
the exiles. The natural divisions are the following: 

(i) vv. I — 4. A contrast between the Babylonian gods and 
the God of Israel ; while these share the fate of their worshippers 
and are borne away in shameful flight, Jehovah is the bearer of His 
people, making its history and leading it to final victory. 

(2) vv. 5 — 7. The scene described in vv. i f. suggests another 
sarcastic passage (after the manner of xl. 18 — 20, xhv. 9 — 20) on 
the folly of idolatry in general. 

(3) vv. 8 — II. A^-enewed appeal (see xli. 21 — 29, etc.) to the 
argument from prophecy, in which, with unwonted severity*, the 
hearers are addressed as "rebels" (v. 8). 

(4) vv. 12, 13. Addressing the opponents of Jehovah's 
purpose, the prophet announces the speedy deliverance of Israel 
as the goal to which events are hastening. 

The genuineness of vv. 6 — 8 is denied by Duhm and others, who 
consider these verses to be a late insertion of the same character 
as xliv. 9 — 20 ; and the excision of them would somewhat 
modify the connexion of ideas. It would be best in that case to 
strike out v. 5 also, leaving three divisions instead of four. But 
the objections to vv. 6 — 8 are not in themselves of great force, 
and would hardly have been raised but for the general resem- 
blances to xliv. 9 — 20. There is no marked failure of rhythm, 
or disruption of thought; and v. 7 presents a clear point of 
contact with vv. 3 f. The close analogy of xl. iS — 20, whose 
integrity no critic has as yet challenged, seems to warrant the 
retention of the verses in the text. 


16 Bel bowctli (.lowii, Nebo stooi)ctli ; their idols arc upon 
the beasts, and ypon the cattle: the things that ye 
carried about are madQ a load, a burden to the weary 

1, 2. The ignominious removal of the gods of Babylon. — 
Bel and Ncho are the Jupiter and Mercury of the Babylonian 
pantheon (they were represented by these planets), and were the 
supreme deities in Babylon at tliis time. Bel {licln) is the Baby- 
lonian form of the Hebrew Ba'al (= lord), and like that word is 
a generic name applicable to any deity. When used as a proper 
name it usually denote? Marduk (Merodach), the tutelary divinity 
of the city of Babylon (so Jer. 1. 2, li. 44); although there was 
an older Bel, who is spoken of as his father. The elevation of 
Bel -Marduk to the chief place among the older gods, as recorded 
in the mythical Chaldean account of the Creation (Tablet iv. 
I ff.), is the legendary counterpart of the ascendency acquired 
by Babylon o\-er the more ancient cities of the Euphrates Valley. 
Nebo (Nabii) was the son of Marduk; the chief seat of his 
worship being Borsippa, in the vicinity of Babylon. His name, 
which is from the same root as the Hebrew ndbt' , "propliet," 
seems to mark him out as the "speaker" of the gods (another 
point of contact with Mercury, "the chief speaker," Acts xiv. 12). 
He was also regarded as the inventor of writing. The frequency 
with which the Chaldean kings are named after him (Nabo- 
polassar, Nebu-chadnezzar, Nabo-nidus) has been thought to 
shew that he was the patron deity of the dynasty. 

howeih down...stoopeth (or croucheth)] The second verb to be 
pointed, like the first, as perfect (prophetic pf.). 

their images (ch. x. 11) are upon the beasts, and upon the cattle] 
The allusion is hardly to the custom of carrying away the idols 
of a conquered nation (Jer. xlviii. 7, xlix. 3; Hos. x. 5 f.), but' 
rather to an attempt of the Babylonians to carry off their images 
on the approach of the Persians (see v. 2). Similarly, Merodach- 
Baladan packed his idols on ships and carried them off, at the 
approach of Sennacherib (Schradcr, Cuneiform Inscr. Vol. 11. 
p. 36). Beasts and cattle usually mean respectively "wild 
beasts" and, "domestic animals"; here, however, they are 
synonymous, and probabl}^ one should be omitted. 

the things that ye carried about (i.e. in religious processions; 
ch. xlv. 20) are made a load] "At the New Year's festival the 
images of Merodach and his son Nebo were carried through 
Babylon in solemn procession on sacred barques of great mag- 
nificence, and along a promenade prepared for this purpose since 
Nabopolassar " (Fried. Delitzsch, quoted by Delitzsch, Coinm. 
p. 403). Such scenes must have been familiar to the prophet 
and his readers, and gave additional point to the contrasted 
picture here imagined. It is not improbable that the picture was 
suggested by a wholesale removal of local deities to the city of 

ISAIAH XLVI. 1—5 77 

beast. They stoop, they bow down together ; they could 2 
not dehver the burden, but themselves are gone into 

Hearken unto me, O holise of Jacob, and all the 3 
remnant of the house of Israel, which have been borne 
by me from the belly, which have been carried from the 
womb : and even to old age I am he, and even to hoar 4 
hairs will I carry you : I have made, and I will bear ; 
yea, I will carry, and will deliver. To whom will ye 5 

Babylon, which was carried out by Nabonidus in the last year 
of his reign (Cyrus-Cylinder, 1. 33). 

2. they could not deliver] i.e. cause to escape. 

themselves are gone info captivity] The distinction allowed 
between the gods and their images is an ironical concession to 
heathen modes of thought. The fact that the gods are unable 
to save their own images means that they have vanished. The 
recently discovered inscriptions have shewn, however, that the 
idols of Babylon had nothing to fear from Cyrus. 

3, 4. In the scene which he has just described the prophet 
sees an emblem of the inherent weakness of heathenism. There 
man carries his gods, and the result is that gods and worshippers 
are involved in common ruin. Israel has had a far different 
experience of its relation to its God, having known Jehovah as 
One who has carried it from the beginning of its history (Ex. 
xix. 4; Deut. i. 31, xxxii. 11 ; Hos. xi. 3; cf. ch. xl. 11, Ixiii. 9), 
and is able to bear it on to final salvation. The profound insight 
into the nature of religion which is characteristic of the writer 
is nowhere more clearly exhibited than in this striking and 
original contrast. 

3. all the remnant of the house of Israel] It is doubtful 
whether there is a reference here to the scattered survivors of 
the Ten Tribes. More probably, the clause is a rhetorical 
variation of the previous "house of Jacob." The participles 
borne and carried are repeated from v. i, although in inverse 
order ("carried things" and "made a Joad"). The words "by 
me" are better omitted. 

4. and even to old age etc.] Cf. Ps. Ixxi. 18. What Jehovah 
has been to His people in the past. He will be for all the future. 
It is not implied that Israel is now "old and gray-headed," as an 
erroneous combination with ch. xlvii. 6 led Hitzig to suppose. 

/ am he] See on ch. xli. 4. 

I have made etc.] A more expressive verb might be substituted : 
perhaps "I have borne and I will bear" (Duhm, etc.). 

and ivill deliver] in express contrast to the false gods who 
"could not deliver" the dead burden of their images (v. 2). 

78 ISAIAH XLVl. 5— y 

liken m(\ ami make me eijual, and compare me, tliat we 

6 ma\- be like? Such as lavish gold out of the bag, and 
weigh silver in the balance, they hire a goldsmith, and * 
he maketh it a god ; they fall down, yea, they worship. 

7 They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and 
set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place 
shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet 
can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble. 

8 Remember this, and ^shew yourselves men: bring it 

9 again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the 
former things of old: ^for I am God, and there is none 

1 Or, stand fast • Or, that 

5. Comp. the similar question of xl. 18, which as here intro- 
duces a sarcastic description of the manufacture of idols. 

6, 7. Contemptuous description of idolatry in general. Comp. 
especially with ch. xliv. 9 — 20. 

6. Such as lavish gold etc.] The gold and silver are the material 
out of which the images (or at least their plating) are to be made 
by the goldsmith (xl. 19) who is hired for the work. The word 
for balance is kdneh (reed), never elsewhere used in this sense. It 
probably denotes the beam of the balance. 

thev fall down] The same word {sdgad) in xhv. 15, 17, 19- 

7. ' They bear him etc.] the newly made idol, to his appointed 
place, from which he is' powerless to move. How vain, there- 
fore, is it to cry to him for help! He is a "god that cannot 
save" (xlv. 20). 

8 — 11 . An appeal to historj' and prophecy in proof of Jehovah's 

8. shew yourselves men] The marg. renders "stand fast," but 
neither sense is suitable in an address to "rebels." The verb 
used (kith' oshdshu) is unknown in Hebrew. The rendering of 
R.V. is based on a common view that it is a denominative from 
the word for "man" ('ish), which is grammatically untenable; 
that of marg. connects it with a root found in Aramaic, Assyrian 
and Arabic, meaning "to be firm." Of proposed emendations 
the easiest is Tagarde's, "be ye ashamed" {hithboshdshA, after 
Gen. ii. 25). Others, hithbondnu, "consider" (ch. xliii. 18); 
hith'ashshdmu, "acknowledge your guilt," 

bring it again I0 mind] as ch. xhv. 19. 

O ve transgressors] Rather; rebels (xlviii. 8, liii. 12, Ixvi. 24). 
From ch. xlv. 9 onwards there seems to be a growing sense of 
antagonism between the prophet and at least a section of his 
audience (see v. 12 and on xlviii. i — 11). 

9. former things of old] (omit "the"). See on xh. 22. The 

ISAIAH XLVI. 9—13 79 

else; / am God, and there is none like me; declaring 10 
the end from the beginning, and from ancient times 
things that are not yet done ; saying. My counsel shall 
stand, and I will do all my pleasure : calling a ravenous 1 1 
bird from the east, the man of ^my counsel from a far 
country; yea, I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass ; 
I have purposed, I will also do it. Hearken unto me, 12 
ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness : I bring 13 

^ Another reading is, his. 

emphasis here hes less on the predictions than on the events 
themselves, which are of such a nature as to demonstrate that 
Jehovah alone is truly God. 

10. the end from the beginning] i.e. the issue (of a particular 
series of events or period of history) from its origin. 

things that are not yet done] with closer reference to the events 
mentioned in 7). 11. Cf. ch. xlviii. 5 ("before it has come to 

My counsel shall stand] Cf. ch. xiv. 24. 

my pleasure] my purpose (see on ch. xliv. 28). 

11. The supreme illustration of the foreknowledge and power 
of Jehovah is the raising up of Cyrus. Cyrus is compared to a 
ravenous bird (rather, a swooping bird: cf. i Sam. xiv. 32, xv. 19) 
on account of the celerity of his movements (ch. xli. 3), just 
as Nebuchadnezzar had been likened to an eagle ( Jer. xlix. 22 ; 
Ezek. xvii. 3). There can hardly be an allusion to the fact (if 
it be a fact) that the royal ensign of Persia was a golden eagle 
(Xenophon, Cyrop. vii. i. 4). 

from the east] xli. 2, 25. 

the man of my counsel] (the consonantal text has "his counsel"). 
Not of course "my counsellor" (as in xl. 13), but "the man that 
executeth my counsel" (A.V.). 

/ have purposed] Lit. I have formed, i.e. "foreordained," as 
in ch. xxii. 11, xxxvii. 26. 

12. 13. A call to repentance based on the nearness of de- 

12. ve stouthearted] The plirase means in Ps. Ixxvi. 5 "cou- 
rageous" ; here it is rather akin to " stiff -hearted " in Ezek. ii. 4. 
The LXX. reads " ye that have lost heart " (3'p nzlX for "20 ''1"'3X)- 
and this is accepted as the true text by most commentators. We 
hesitate to follow them. The sense seems too weak in this con- 
nexion ; if there are men who on the eve of deliverance are (not 
imagine themselves to be!) "far from righteousness" they are 
surely those who are in more or less conscious opposition to the 
divine purpose (cf. xiv. 9). " Righteousness "inv. 13 is parallel to 


noar my lij^litcousness, it sliall not be far off, and my 
salvation shall not tarry; and I will 'place sah'ation in 
Zion for Israel my glor}'. 

* Or, give salvation in Zion, and my glory unto Israel 

"salvation," and denotes the manifestation of Jehovah's right- 
eousness in the deUverance of Israel. In this verse it is more 
natural to understand it in its forensic sense^ of the rifjhl rclati(m 
to God, which is the condition of sharing in the outward salvation. 
The same contrast is unambiguously inn)licd in Ivi. i. 

13. for Israel mv glory] Cf. xlix. 3. But another possible 
translation is "I will give. glory unto Israel" (marg.). 

The two verses express a paradox which enters deeply into the 
thought of the prophet. While salvation is near in point of time, 
yet many in Israel are spiritually far from it. Hence the work 
of sahation or righteousness has two aspects ; along witli the 
providential deliverance of which the agent is Cyrus, there is an 
inward and spiritual salvation which consists in bringing the 
nation to right thoughts about itself and God. And in this 
spiritual transformation the instrument is the Servant of 

Ch. XLVII. An Ode on the Fall of Babylon. 

The strain of prophetic exhortation is here interrupted by an 
ironical eleg>'^ or "taunt-song" with a strong resemblance to the 
ode on the king of Babylon in ch. xiv. 4 — 21. The humihation 
of the city is represented by the graphic image of a delicate and 
luxurious lady of the harem, suddenly reduced to the shameful 
condition of a slave or a captive. This female personifica tion 
of Babylon forms an effecti ve, and no doubt mtcntional, contr ast 
to"~the fig ure oi Zion, the desolate and bereaved widow, wh o is 
sooTTtb be res tored to the honour and lovs ot motnernoog "(ch. 
xlix. f4ti7rii. 17 ii-, liv.). — Although words of Jehovah occur in 
vv. 3 and 6, it is hardly natural to suppose that He is the speaker 
throughout. The singer is more probably either the nation of 
Israel (as in xiv. 4 ff.) or the prophet speaking in his own name. 

The poem is usually divided into four unequal strophes, 
commencing wath vv. i, 5. 8 and 12. Dillmann finds in it a 
combination of several distinct poetic measures, and recognises 
the characteristic rhythm of the elegy only in the opening verses 
of the first three strophes (1,5, 8). There is however an approxi- 
mation to the structure of the kmah in many verses; and the 
question is suggested whether the departures from the regular 
form are not to be accounted for by errors in the' text. Dulmi, 
omitting three clauses as interpolations (see below), makes out 
a division into five equal strophes (i — 4, 5 — 7, 8 — 10 a, 10 b — 12, 


Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of 47 
Babylon ; sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter 
of tlie Chaldeans : for thou shalt no more be called 
tender and delicate. Take the millstones, and grind 2 
meal : remove thy veil, strip off the train, uncover the 
leg, pass through the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be 3 
uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen : I will take 

13 — 15) of seven lines each, and with a few minor alterations the 
elegiac caesura (see on x iv. 4) is fairly well marked in nearly eve ry 
line. We wiTl^fnllowThis scheme, although the strophic division 
in vv. 10, and 12, 13 is not altogether convincing; and the textual 
alterations may not commend themselves in very instance. 

1 — 4. The first strophe consists of a tristich {v. i) followed 
(on Duhm's reconstruction) by two distichs. The leading thought 
is the degradation of Babjdon from her position of ease and luxury. 

1 . virgin daughtey of Babylon] i.e. "virgin daughter, Babylon " ; 
two explicative genitives (see on i. 8), as in xxxvii. 22. The 
parallel phrase daughter of the Chaldeans is somewhat different. 
It describes Babylon as the city of (possessed by) the Chaldeans, 
the reigning dynasty. It might no doubt be a personification of 
the land of Chaldea, like "daughter of Egypt" in Jer. xlvi. 11; 
but this is less probable. 

sit on the ground^ A sign not of mourning, as in iii. 26, but of 
abject humiliation. 

thou shalt no more he called] Lit. "thou shalt no more (be one 
whom) they call"; the peculiar construction (cf. Gen. xxxi. 40) 
being partly due to the Hebrew aversion to the use of the passive. 

tender and delicate] See Deut. xxviii. 56, "the tender and 
delicate woman which would not adventure to set the sole of her 
foot upon the ground." 

2. Take the millstones etc.] The luxurious lady must betake 
herself to the occupation of the meanest female slaves in the 
household: Ex.,xi. 5; Job xxxi. 10. _ 

remove thy veil] Cant. iv. i, 3, vi. 7. 

strip off the train] Or, skirt. The word does not occur elsewhere, 
but is perhaps connected etymologically with that rendered 
"train" in ch. vi. i. pass through the rivers] Render: 

pass through streams, omitting the article. The words are 
commonly taken to describe the hardships of a journey into 
exile, but they may simply refer to the degradations which she 
would have to undergo in performing the drudgery of a common 
slave (so Dillmann). 

3. Thy nakedness... seen] These words, which undoubtedly 
spoil the rhythm of the verse, are deleted by Duhm as a gloss 
suggested by the latter part of f. 2. 



4 vtMigeance, and will ^accept no man. Our redeemer, the 

5 Loud of hosts is his name, the H0I3' One of Israel. Sit 
thou silent, and get thee into darkness, () daughter of 
the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be ealled The 

6 lady of kingdoms. I was wroth with my people, J 

' Or, make truce with Heb. meet. 

and will accept no man] The sense is 'very obscure. Either 
(a) " I will spare no man " (i.e. meet him with friendly intentions) ; 
the figure of the virgin being dropped : or (/>) "I will not entreat 
any man (for help)": or (c) the vowel-points being changed, 
"I will let no man intercede," — all unacceptable on one ground 
or another. The difficulty lies in the word for "man"; this 
would be got rid of by simply changing 'dddm into 'dmar 
(= "saith") read by some MSS. of the LXX. as the first word of 
V. 4. The verb then stands absolutely, and is best pointed and 
translated as Niphal loleraliviim: "I will not (let my.self) be 
entreated" (Oort and Duhm). Several critics, with Gratz, 
read l,n£!vS for I'JDwV, "and will not leave off"; Ehrlich I'3")X, 
"will not rest," comparing Jer. xlvii. 6; but these emendations 
are hardly necessary. See further on z;. 4. 

4. The verse as it stands interrupts the continuity of the poem, 
especially in the view of those who hold that the speaker is 
throughout Jehovah. Lowth and others regard it as the response 
of a chorus of Israelites to the words of God in v. 3, while Dill- 
mann and others unhesitatingly pronounce it to be an inter- 
polation. But all reasonable objections are removed if we supply 
the word "saith" as in three Greek uncials. Combining this 
with the other suggestion of Oort mentioned above, the last 
distich of the strophe reads thus : 

I will take vengeance and will not be entreated, — saith our 

Redeemer ; 
Jehovah of Hosts is His name, — the Holy One of Israel. 

5 — 7. The second strophe commences anew with an apostrophe 
to Babylon. The keynote is struck in the words "mistress of 
kingdoms." She is threatened with the loss of her imperial 
power, because she has so grossly abused it by her cruelty to 

5. get thee into darkness] Darkness may be a symbol either 
of imprisonment (ch. xhi. 7) or, more generally, of misery; 
Lam. iii. 2. 

lady of kingdoms] Lit. "mistress" (xxiv. 2). The word is 
used of the queen-mother in Jer. xiii. 18, in a connexion some- 
what similar to this. Babylon is addressed as an imperial city 
holding the destinies of manj' kingdoms in her hands. 

6. Jehovah speaks, charging Babylon with pitiless inhumanity 


profaned mine inheritance, and gave them into thine 
hand : thou didst shew them no mercy ; upon the aged 
hast tliou very heavily laid thy yoke. And thou saidst, 7 
I shall be a lady for ever : so that thou didst not lay these 
things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter 
end thereof. 

Now therefore hear this, thou that art given to 8 

towards His people when they were deUvered to her for chastise- 
ment (for the thought cf. Zech. i. 15). 

/ was wroth with my people] Cf. hv. 9, Ivii. 16 f., Ixiv. 5, 9. 

/ profaned mine inheritance] Cf. xhii. 28. "Profane" is the 
opposite of "holy"; as "holy to Jehovah" Israel was inviolable 
•(Jer. ii. 3), but when this relation ceased she passed under the 
power of the heathen. 

upon the aged] Although the word is sing., there can be no 
doubt that it is used literally of the old men on whom the hard- 
ships of captivity fell most heavily (cf. Lam. iv. 16, v. 12). The 
idea that Israel as a nation is meant is not to Vje entertained 
(see on ch. xlvi. 4). We have little knowledge of the circum- 
stances of the Israehtes in exile, but there is nothing improbable 
in the supposition that some of them were put to forced labour, 
and that cases of exceptional barbarity may have occurred. 
See Introd. p. xxxiv. 

7. Such inconsiderate cruelty can only be explained by the 
delusion that her supremacy was eternal, that no daj^ of reckoning 
could ever come to her, — the vfipLs of the ancients. 

A)id thou saidst, I shall be etc.] Render (with a different 
division of clauses) : And thou saidst I shall be for ever — a lady 
eternally (ht. "mistress of eternity"). The word here rendered 
"eternity" {'ad) is taken in the received text as a conjunction 
(R'.V. so that, strictly "until"). The rhythm requires it to 
be treated as a- substantive in the genitive after "mistress." 
It is used in exactly the same way in the name "Father of 
eternity" (ch. ix. 6). 

these things] thy cruelties ; — in what sense she failed to lay 
them to heart is explained by the following clause. 

the latter end thereof] Or, the issue thereof, i.e. the inevitable 

8 — 10 a. The third strophe : Babylon's careless confidence 
in her own future shall be put to shame by the suddenness of 
her calamities. 

8. thou that^rt given to pleasures] thou voluptuous one (Cheyne). 
The word does not occur again. The following clauses recur 
verbatim in Zeph. ii. 15 (of Nineveh). 


pleasures, that ^dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine 
heart, I am, and there is none else beside me; I shall not 
sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children : 

9 but these two things shall come to thee in a moment in 
one day, the loss of children, and widowhood : in their 
full measure shall they come upon thee, ^ despite of the 
multitude of thy sorceries, and the great abundance of 

lo thine enchantments. For thou hast trusted in thy 
wickedness ; thou hast said. None seeth me ; thy wisdom 

' Or, sittest securely * Or, amidst 

that dweUest carelessly . that sittest securely. 

/ am, and there is none else beside me] Rather: I and none 
besides. The words express Babylon's sense of her unique position. . 
The vocahc ending of the word for "none" ('aphsf from 'ephcs — 
cessation, nothingness) cannot be the poss. suft. of ist pers., which 
would give the sense "I am no more," — the opposite of what is 
intended. It is probably an old case-termination which has 
ceased to have any significance in the Heb. of the O.T. So again 
in V. lo. 

9. widowhood] is simply a figure for desolation, which is not 
to be pressed by asking the question, Who was the husband? 
The reference could hardly be to the king (for which there are 
no analogies), still less to the foreign nations with whom she 

despite of the multitude] Cf. ch. v. 25, etc. ("for all this"). 
Strict rhythm would here be restored by transposing the two 
clauses: "for the great abundance... — for the multitude..."; 
or by transposing the word for "great" ("15^^) to the end of the 
first line: e.g. "be thy sorceries ever so many — ,and] powerful 
thy charms" (the words for multitude and abundance are really 

sorceries and enchantments are no doubt to be understood 
literally, not as metaphors for diplomatic and pohtical finesse. 

10. thou hast trusted etc.] Better perhaps: thou hast been 
confldent in thy wickedness; hast perpetrated wickedness with- 
out a misgiving or a thought of retribution. "Wickedness" 
probably means "tyranny," as Nah. iii. 19. 

None seeth me] No holy and righteous God takes notice. Cf. 
Ps. X. II, xciv. 7. 

10 b — 12. The fourth stroplie gives the reason for Babylon's 
security : the elaborate system of magic for which she was famous, 
and in which her practical religion largely consisted. For an 
account of Babylonian sorcery, etc., see Lenormant, Chaldaean 
Magic (transL), esp. chh. i. — iv. 

ISAIAH XLVII. lo— 12 85 

and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee: and thou 
•hast said in thine heart, 1 am, and there is none else 
beside me. Therefore shall evil come upon thee ; thou 1 1 
Shalt not know ^the dawning thereof : and mischief shall 
fall upon thee ; thou shalt not be able to put it away : 
and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which 
thou knowest not. Stand now with thine enchantments, 12 
and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou 
hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be 

1 Or, hoiv to charm it away 

thy wisdom and thy knoivledge] The context shews that it is 
the occult knowledge of sorcery, astrology, etc., that is meant. 

11. evin is the same word as "wickedness" in v. 10; the play 
on the two meanings of the word is intentional. 

the dawning thereof} The metaphor is unnatural (of calamity), 
and the parallelism of the next line shews that an inf. must be 
read. A similar Arabic verb means "to charm"; accordingly 
most commentators now translate which thou shalt not know 
(how) to charm away (see marg.). Some, however, prefer a 
shght alteration of the text, reading "to bribe" (mnC for 
;^"in'."; cf. the parallelism in Prov. vi. 35). Why this is "un- 
hebraic" (Ehrlich) is not evident. 

to put it away^ is literally to expiate, i.e. avert by an offering. 
"They try to avert evil and procure good, either by purifications, 
sacrifices, or enchantments." (Diodorus Siculus, quoted by 
Lenormant, I.e. p. 12.) 

which thou knowest not] The parallelism with the other two 
hues of the tristich suggests that an inf. should be supplied at the 
end : which thou shalt not know how to... (so Duhm). 

12. Stand now with etc.] Either Stand by thy spells, persist 
in them, stake everything upon them, as I^ev. xiii. 5, Jer. xlviii. 
II, Ezek. xiii. 5 (these parallels, however, are not quite convincing) ; 
or (as in y. 13) Stand forth with thy spells. 

wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth] Stiictly, with that 
wherewith thou hast wearied thyself, etc.; see on ch. xhii. 22. 
Duhm omits these words entirely, for the sake of the rhythm, 
but thev excite no suspicion on any other ground than the 
recurrence of the idea in z'. 15. 

if so be etc.] perchance thou wilt be able to profit! — 
perchance thou wilt inspire terror ! 
keen and bitter irony. 

13 — -15. The last strophe dwells on the futility of all the 
resources that the "daughter of Babel" can call to her aid. 

86 ISAIAH XLVII. 12—15 

13 able to profit, if so be thou mayest ^ prevail. Thou art 
wearied in the multitude of thy counsels: let now the 
2astrolot,'ors, the stargazers, the monthly profi;nosticators, 
stand up, and save thee from the things tliat shall come 

14 upon thee. Behold, they shall be as stubble ; the ftre 
shall burn them ; they shall not deliver themselves from 
the power of the flame: it shall not be a coal to warm 

15 at, nor a fire to sit before. Thus shall the things be 
unto thee wherein thou h;ust laboured: they that have 

1 Or, strike terror - Heb. dividers of the heavens. 

13. Thou art wearied iii] Perhaps Thou art overpowered in 
spite of: cf. Jer. xii. 5; Job xvi. 7. 

let nmc the astrologers etc.] Render: 

— let them stand forth now, 
And save thee, the dividers of heaven — 
they that gaze on the stars; 
They that announce month by month — 
somewhat of thy fate. 
astrologers is an apt enough equivalent of "they that divide 
the heavens" (i.e. into the constellations, for astrological pur- 
poses). This at least seems the most probable meaning, although 
the verb for "divide" does not occur elsewhere in Hebrew (in 
Arab, it means "to divide into great pieces"), and the ancient 
versions render otherwise [LXX. ol darpoXoyoi rod oi''pavov]. So 
monthly prognosticators is a felicitous condensation of the thought 
of the last clause, although the E.V. (following some Jewish 
authorities) has mistaken the syntactical construction. The 
special reference here is to the preparation of monthly almanacs 
(based on astrological calculations) in 'which coming disasters 
were foretold, lucky and unlucky days pointed out, etc. A 
specimen of these almanacs is translated by Sayce in Trans, 
of the Society of Bibl. ArchfPology. iii. 229 ff. 

14. They cannot even save their own lives, much less the 

it shall not be a coal etc.] Better: No (glowing) coal to warm 
oneself withal! no fire to sit before! i.e. no genial hearth for 
comfort, but an all-consuming fire ! The sentence is prosaic and 
unnecessary, and may be cheerfully sacrificed (with Duhm) to 
the exigencies of the strophe and the elegiac measure. 

15. wherein thou hast laboured] See on w 12. 

they that have trafficked with thee] "thy merchants." Cf. Nah. 
iii. 16 f., and see on ch. xiii. 14. The abrupt introduction of 
merchants here is perplexing, especially after the adverb "thus" ; 
but the word never means anything else in Hebrew. It might, 


trafficked with thee from thy youth shall wander every 
one to ^his quarter; there shall be none to save thee. 

^ Or, his own way 

no doubt, be used in a wide sense, of foreigners that trafficked 
with Babylon ; but this would involve beginning a new sentence 
at the caesura, which is not natural. To omit the word entirely 
(Cheyne and Marti) is precluded by the metre. It is probably 
best to read "|'~inL", "thy magicians," with Ewald and Duhm. 

shall wander] have staggered. 

every one to his quarter] Rather: each straight before him; 
of. Ezek. i. 9 (the cherubim went "everyone straight forward"). 

Ch. Xf-VIII. Exhortations addressed to the Exiles 
IN the near Prospect of Deliverance. 

The chapter is largely a recapitulation of certain outstanding 
themes of the prophecy, several of which are here touched upon 
for the last time. The references to the victories of Cyrus, the 
predictions of the fall of Babylon, the appeal to prophecy, the 
distinction between "former things" and "new things" and the 
explicit identification of the actual Israel with the Servant of 
the Lord, henceforth disappear from the circle of the author's 
thoughts, along with other familiar subjects, such as the polemic 
against idolatry and the impressive inculcation of the sole deity 
of Jehovah. This circumstance indicates that we have reached 
the end of the first great division of the prophecy, and the im- 
pression is confirmed by the closing hymn of praise, which carries 
us forward to the very eve of the departure from Babylon. On 
some critical difficulties of the passage see the introductory notes 
to vv. I — -11 and 17 — 19, below. 

There are four distinct sections : 

(i) vv. I — II. The prophet vindicates the methods of 
Jehovah's revelation to Israel ; predictions have been given 
and withheld in such a way as to remove every excuse for 
attributing the, great events of history to any other cause than 
the will of God. 

(ii) vv. 12 — 16. An instance of the withholding of prophecy 
till the eve of its accomplishment is the present announcement 
of the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus ; it is the crowning proof 
of Jehovah's abiding presence with His people. 

(iii) vv. 17 — 19. Jehovah's compassion finds expression in 
a cry of distress over the neglect of His commandments, which 
has stood in the way of Israel's salvation. 

(iv) vv. 20 — 22. In a final jubilant outburst of praise, the 
exiles are summoned to flee from Babylon, whose power is already 
broken, and to proclaim the marvels of their redemption to the 
ends of the earth. 


48 Hear ye this, () liousc of Jacob, wiiicli are called by 
the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters 

1 — 11. These verses present some peculiar features, both of 
thought and style, which have been felt by scholars of widely 
diverging critical tendencies. The severe judgement on the 
people goes be yond anything else in t hr prr.piiff-y; and, as has 
. been pointed out, seems to breathe the spirit of Ezekiel rather 
- ■ than of the second Isaiah. Israel is addressed as a nation of 
hypocrites, of apostates, and of persistent idolaters. Then the 
argument of the passage as a whole is very remarkable. The 
"f ormer things " (i.e. the events that have just taken place) were 
a nnounced long be forph.nnd lest Tsr.nipl shnnld hf^ ]pd ^" ascribe 
them to some false god {vv. 3 — 6a); bu t the "new things" (the 
su bject of _t >ie present prophecy) have been '•hiriclcn" til!_t he last 
moiuent, lest the people in their pervcrsv Fy should say they had 
knmvn of fhPltT all along (6 h—S). Du hm and Cheyne with 
sever al othen n^rrpp in n^^ip ning Ihosc peculiarities to an edi tor, 
who has supplied a runn ing_c()iiHiijjil ,-iry on the wn rfis of the 
original author, i n the shape of anno tati(jns. It is true that by 
omittmg vv. I (from -'which are called"), 2, 4, 56, j b, 8 b, 9, 
10, II rt/i, these critics disentangle a short poem of eight double 
lines, made up of characteristic Deutcro-Isaianic phrases and 
ideas, and free from all those elements which have excited their 
su.spicion. But thus to bre ak " P th e unity o f g poem, consecutive 
in thought and with clearly marked metrical structure, is_a too 
drastic way of getting rid of its perplexing an d unexpected features. 
The procedure attnTDuTed to the editor would be unique in the 
book ; and no motive can be suggested for a systematic manipula- 
tion of this solitary passage. And -flLhile-tbe-eHffietriiries arc real, 
th ev must not be "exaggerat ed. The special development of the 
argument from prophecy involves no inconsistency with the 
prophet's general treatment of that theme, and is as likely to 
ha\e occurred to him as to any of his readers. The stern attitude 
to the people, which appears already in xlv. 9 ff. and xlvi. 8 
(see p. 78), would naturally be intensified as the hour of 
emancipation drew near, and it became clear that the prospect 
of a return to Palestine had no attraction for the bulk of the 
exiles, as subsequent events shewed (comp. ch. Iv.). — We divide 
the passage into four strophes : i. The address {vv. i, 2). ii. The 
le.sson of the "former things" (3 — 6a). iii. The lesson of the 
"new things" (6 b — 8). iv. The conclusion (q — 11). 

1. Hear ve this] refers to the following oracle, which commences 
with V. 3 (cf. xlvi. 3 and xlviii. 12). 

which are called] Or, which call themselves, as in v. 2 (cf. ch. 
xliv. 5). For the remnant of the tribe of Judah, whom the 
author has in his view, the name "Israel" was really a title of 


of Judah; which swear by the name of the Lord, and 
make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, 
nor in righteousness. For they call themselves of the 2 
holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel ; 
the Lord of hosts is his name. I have declared the 3 
former things from of old; yea, they went forth out of 
my mouth, and I shewed them : suddenly I did them, 
and they came to pass. Because I knew that thou art 4 
obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow 

out of the waters of Judah] This clause cannot be explained 
in asatisfactorj' manner. The metaphor mip;ht be justified from 
Ps. Ixviii. 26 (R.V.), where the ancestor of the nation is compared 
to a fountain or cistern. It is perhaps better to read (with 
Seeker) niimm'e for minime, rendering from the bowels (as v. 19) 
ol Judah. There remains the difficulty that Judah is nowhere 
named as the ancestor of the people. 

To swear by the name of the Lord is a profession of allegiance to 
Him, and as such is enioined as a religious duty (Deut. vi. 13, 
X. 20). 

make mention of] i.e. celebrate; Ps. xx. 7. The words not in 
truth, nor in righteousness do not refer specially to false swearing, 
but mean that the profession is formal and insincere. It is not 
natural to read the clause interrogatively in an affirmative sense, 
of which the proof follows in v. 2 (Duhm). 

2. For they call themselves etc.] The connexion of this verse 
with the preceding is very strange, unless the conjunction may 
have the sense of "Though." 

the holy city] The phr ase is here applied to Jerusalem fo r the 
fi rst time in the O.T. It occurs again in ch. lii. i, elsewhere only 
in the books of Nehemiah~ana uaniel (conip."Maff. iv. 5). 

Tmd~stU'y^iem:s^ves~gtC7] The vei-b is not the usual word for 
religious trust, but may be used of false confidence, as in ch. 
xxxvi. 6. The -sense of the whole would then be that these 
persons have all the external marks of true Israelites, but their 
profession lacks reality. 

3 — 6 a inculcate the lesson of the "former things," i.e. the 
events that have now taken place, especially the appear^ance of 
Cyrus. These were predicted in advance, that Israel might not 
be able to say they were done by the false gods (v. 5). 

3. they (the predictions) ivent forth out of my mouth. ..I did them] 
brought the events to pass ; the ri'shonoth including both the 
predictions and their historical fulfilments (see on ch, xli. 22). 

4. Cf. Ezek. iii. 7 — g. 

thy neck is an iron sinew] Cf. for the idea Ex. xxxii. 9 ; Deut. 
ix. 6, 13. 

oo ISATAll XIA'ni. 1—8 

5 brass ; therefore I liavc declared it to thee fioin of (jld ; 
before it came to pass I shewed it thee : lest thou shouldest 
say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, 

6 and my molten image, hath commanded them. Thou 
hast lieard it ; behold all this ; and ye, will ye not declare 
it? ^I have shewed thee new things from this time, 

7 even hidden things, which thou hast not known. They 
are created now, and not from of old ; and before this 
day thou hcardest them not ; lest thou shouldest say, 

8 Behold, I knew them. Yea, thou hcardest not ; yea, 

' Or, I shew 

5. therefore I have declared elc] and I announced it to thee 
beforehand {v. 3). 

icst thou shouldest say etc.] But for the predictions the appear- 
ance of Cyrus might have been attributed to the idols rather than 
to the God who spoke through the prophets. 

6. behold all this] see it all (sc. fulfilled). 

and ye, will ye not declare it?] Better (with the change of a 
consonant : nTn) : and you, will ye not bear witness? (Duhm.) 
Cf. ch. .xliii. 12. 

6 b — 8. Jehovah has proved His power to foretell by the 
fulfilment of past predictions (vv. 3 — 6 a); now He announces 
new things. 

I have shetued thee] Rather: I shew thee (in the act of speaking). 

new things] viz. those specified in v. 14, — the conquest of 
Babylon and all that results from it, the deliverance of Israel, 
the overthrow of heathenism and the manifestation of the glory 
of Jehovah. 

hidden things] Lit. "things kept" (in reserve). 

which thou hast not known] With the exception of one letter 
the clause coincides with one in Jer. xxxiii. 3 ("difficult things 
which thou knowest not"). 

7. They are created 7iow] To create is to call into being by a 
word ; and the idea here seems to be that the prophetic word 
which announces, is at the same time the creative fiat of Jehovah. 

not from of old] not aforetime (see v. 3). 

and before this day thou hcardest them not] The phrase "before 
the day" is the exact opposite of "from this day forth" in ch. 
xliii. 13. It is therefore scarcely necessary with Klostermann 
and others to change the reading to D''3E)'? = "formerly." 

Behold, I knew them] The events would have lost _the effect of 
nov elty if announced long be fore. Unb eUef di esJiard : when it 
can no longer say, " Nly :clol did it," it isijipt to take refuge in 
another subterfuge and say, "It is what I expected." 

8. Yez!rr~thou hardest not etc.] Better : Thou hast neither 


thou knewest not ; yea, from of old thine ear was not 
opened: for I knew that thou didst deal very treacher- 
ously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb. 
For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my 9 
praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. 
Behold, I have refined thee, but not as silver; I have 10 
^chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own n 

1 Or, tried 

heard nor known, nor was thine ear opened beforehand. The 

verbal form for "was opened" is properly transitive. It is 
used, however, in ch. Ix. 1 1 of gates standing open, and in Cant. vii. 
13 of the opening of a flower. The LXX. reads "nor did I open," 
and this gives a better sense, the assertion being not that Israel's 
ear refused to open, but that Jehovah had not opened it, i.e. had 
not given a revelation. A similar conception of revelation, 
though with a dilierent verb, in ch. xxii. 14 ; i Sam. ix. 15 ; with 
the same verb, in ch. 1. 5. 

that thou didst deal very treacherously'] Rather: that thou art 
utterly treacherous. a transgressor'] a rebel. Such has been 

the character of Israel as revealed in its past history ; it would 
have abused the knowledge if the predictions had been made 

9 — 11. .\ nation so sunk in unbelief must have perished, but 
for Jehovah's regard for His name. The thought is characteristic 
of Ezekiel (see esp. ch.' xx.). The expression "for my name's 
sake" (v. 9) is not found elsewhere in this prophecy; "for my 
own sake" (v. 11) occurs in ch. xliii. 25. 

9. The verbs should be rendered in the present tense. That 
for refrain (found only here) is commonly understood to mean 
"bridle," the object ("my anger") being supplied from the 
previous clause. 

that I cut thee not off] The idea that Israel is in danger of 
being cut off is no doubt a surprising one in the mouth of this 
prophet (Duhm). 

10. Instead of cutting off Israel, Jehovah has purified it in 
the furnace of affliction. That the process has been fruitless of 
beneficial result (Dillmann) is suggested only by a particular 
interpretation of the words. 

but not as silver] The phrase is obscure. Dillmann and others 
take it to mean "not w itli silver as a result." without obtain ing- / 
any_£ure nigtal. Others render "not as silver," i.e. eithe r "not 
so .s everely as silver is re!Trred,""o r "with a rehningjyt^different. 
nature." ^None ot tne_proposea interpretations is entirely^sajiis- 

I have chosen thee in the furnace etc.] Render: I have tried thee. 

92 ISAIAH XLVIIl. 11—14 

sake, for mine own sake, will I tlo it; for how should 

mv name be profaned ? and my glory will I not ^ive to 


12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob, and Israel my called: 

i; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. Yea, mine 

hand hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my riglit 

hand hath spread out the heavens: when I call unto 

14 them, they stand up together. Assemble yourselves, all 

ve, and hear; which among them hath declared these 

"things? ^The Lord "hath loved him: he shall perform 

' Or, He whom the Lohi> loveth shall &€. 

etc. (marg.). This sense of the verb is Aramaic (cf. Jobxxxiv. 4?), 
and since the verb "choose" is a common word of the prophet, 
the fact of its being found here in a different sense may be an 
argument against his authorship. 

On the figure of the verse see ch. i. 25 ; Jer. vi. 29, ix. 7 ; 
Zech. xiii. 9; Mai. iii. 2, 3; i Pet. i. 7. 

11. for how shotild my name be profaned?'] Better: for how 
is it profaned! a parenthetic ejaculation, and in all probability 
a marginal gloss to v. 9. The subject "my name" is supplied 
in the LXX. 

mv glory ivill I not give to another] Cf . ch. xlii. 8. The " glory " 
is that of bringing to pass the marvellous " new things," the era of 
eternal salvation. 

12 — 16. The substance of the "new things" {v. 6) is that 
Jehovah has called Cyrus to execute His pleasure on the Chaldeans 
(14 f.), and now openly announces His purpose beforehand (16). 

12. / am he] See on ch. xH. 4. / am the first... the last] 
xli. 4, xliv. 6. 

13. Cf. ch. xl. 12, 22, 26; Ps. cii. 25. hath spread out] 
The verb is Aramaic, and does not occur elsewhere in the O.T. 

when I call... they stand up] Ps. xxxiii. 9. 

14. Assemble yourselves] The summons is addressed, not as 
in ch. xli. i — 4, etc., to the nations, but to the people of Israel. 

which among them] Some MSS. read "among you," which is 
preferable. The Hcb. word might well be omitted altogether. 

these things] The victories of Cyrus, mentioned in the following 

TheL<ii:i< hath loved him] is to be construed as a relative sentence : 
he whom Jehovah loveth shall perform (marg.). This construc- 
tion is very harsh, and since the LXX. has no equivalent for 
i "the Lord" we may omit it, and obtain a simpler sense by 
' changing the suffixes to ist pers. : " My Friend shall perform 
my pleasure on Babylon." A new title, similar to those in 

ISAIAH XLVIII. 14—16 93 

his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall he on the 
Chaldeans. I, even I, have spoken; yea, I called 15 
him : I have brought him, and he shall make his way 
prosperous. Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; from 16 
the beginning I have not spoken in secret ; from the time 
tliat it was, there am I : and now the Lord God hath 

xliv. 28, xlv. I, xlvi. II, is thus bestowed upon Cyrus (comp. 
"my friend" of Abraham in xli. 8). his pleasure] See on 

xlii. 21. 

and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans'] To make sense of the 
present text both a verb and a prep, would have to be supplied 
(the Targ. inserts "shall reveal"). The LXX. ("to destroy the 
seed of the Chaldeans") obviously read zera' instead of zero' 6; 
and this is doubtless the correct text. Render simply on Babylon 
and the seed of the Chaldeans. 

16. / have not spoken in secret] Cf. ch. xlv. 19. 

from the beginning... fyom the time that it was] The sense is 
somewhat obscure. The prnnoun "it" cannot refer to the world 
or the Creation^ which woulQ require to be expre ssed ; the implied 
antecedent inust be theTubject 01 which the prophet is speaking, 
the pu rpose of Tehovah aeaiiT^^ Raby lnn The "beginning" will 
therefore be either the o rigin of revelation in general, or of the 
series of prophecies now bei ng_iLLlfilled . The meaning may be 
paraphrased thus : J ehovah has never from the beginning spoken 
in dark and uncertain oracles, and He does not conceal Himself 
now when events are already moving towards the accomplishment 
of His words ; He is there intprpr pf-ing ag -.xtpW ^^ guiding the 
co urse of history. That Jehovah is the speaker thus far cannot 
be questioned' in spite of the last clause of the verse. For the 
phrase there am I, comp. Prov. viii. 27 (in the mouth of the 
personified Wisdom of God). 

and now the Lord Gon etc.] Render : and now the Lord Jehovah 

hath sent me arid (i.e. with) His spirit; "His spirit" being not a 

second subject along with Jehovah, but a second object. For the 

idea cf. "ch. Ixi. i and Zech. vii. 12. The Spirit is never spoken 

of in the O.T. as the sender of th^ prophets, or as an independent 

agent distinct from Jehovah. The isolation of this sentence from 

its context raises doubts as to its gen nTnerress I'h e sud den change 

aJ of sp^a^er_discoiiaects-4t_£EOJXL_^lhat j)recedes, and it is equally 

'^j unsuitable as an intro duction to vv. 17 — iq , where Jehovah 

Himself is again introduced by the or djnaryjrop hetic form ula. 

c) A prelude to ch. xlix. (Delitzsch) it cannot possibly be; and it is 

^ utterly arbitrary to suppose that the words are spoken by the 

"Ser vant of lehov ah." Duhm and most writers hold that the 

words are interpolated ; the motive for their insertion being a 1 

misunderstanding of the first part of the verse. Taking "from / 

94 ISAIAH XLVIII. i6— 18 

'7 sent me, and his spirit. Thus saith the Lord, thy re- 
deemer, the Holy One of Israel : I am the Lord thy 
God, which teaclieth thee to profit, which leadeth thee 

'^"i by the way that thou shouldest go. H)h that tliou 
hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy 

' Or, Oft that thou wouldest hearken... then should thy peace 
he &c. 

the beginning" and "from the time that it was" to refer to the 
Creation, the editor supplied the contrast ("and now"), which he 
beheveJ the author to have in his mind. 

17 — 19. If Israel had but known Jehovah as its faithful Guide, 
and obeyed His commandments, how different would its present 
condition have been ! The short passage has a striking resem- 
blance to Ps. Ixxxi. 13 — 16, and is of singular pathos and depth 
of feeling. The disappointment expressed, that Israel has not 
attained to righteousness by the keeping of the divine law, is not 
altogether natural in this connexion, or in the circumstances in 
which the prophecy was written. It breathes rather the spirit 
of a time of depression, when Israel seemed in danger of being 
"cut off," and when the faith of the Church was not sustained by 
the immediate prospect of deliverance. Moreover, the song of 
triumph in vv. 20 f. is the proper .sequel (as in every similar 
instance) of the announcement of dehverance (12 — 16 a); and 
it will be felt that the obvious and natural connexion is disturbed 
by a sigh of regret for what might have been. These considera- 
tions mihtate against the genuineness of the \erses, and yet we 
must hesitate to follow the critics (Duhm and others) who deny 
their originality. The second Isaiah was capable of a great 
variety of emotions ; and it is not inconceivable that looking 
back over Israel's past history, and deploring the unbelief of the 
mass of his contemporaries, he should reflect on the different 
reception his message of hope would now have had if the nation 
had been responsive to the teaching of its God. As the expression 
of a mood, the section is intelligible, although its insertion at this 
point in the prophecy may be surprising. The difficulties would 
largely vanish if we could read into the words an ardent expecta- 
tion of a change of heart ; but that, for the reasons given below, 
seems to be grammatically doubtful. 

17. The introduction is in the prophet's usual manner; cf. 
ch. xh. 14, xhii. 14, xlLx. 7. 

which teacheth thee to profit] i.e. profitably or "for thy profit"; 
cf. xhv. 10 ("to no profit"), xlvii. 12. 

18. Oh that thou hadst hearkened etc.] This is the strict rendering 
of the Heb. idiom, which properly expresses a wish that has not 
been reahsed (see Driver, Tenses, § 140). It may, indeed (as in 

ISAIAH XLVIII. i8, 19 95 

peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves 
of the sea : th}^ seed also had been as the sand, and the 19 
offspring of thy bowels like ^the grains thereof: his 
name should not be cut off nor destroj^ed from before me. 

^ Or, that of the bowels thereof 

ch. Ixiv. i), be used in an impassioned wish for the future, and 
many commentators prefer that sense here, — "Oh that thou 
wouldst hearken" (see Davidson, Syntax, § 134). So marg. 
But the construction in Ixiv. i is exceptional, and the two cases 
are not strictly parallel. Here the reference to the past is 
strengthened by the following clauses : then had thy peace been, 
etc. (consec. impf.); and it is only a feeling of the unsuitability 
of the idea to the discourse that could ever suggest a departure 
from the ordinary rule of syntax. It is trrie that "such a retro- 
spect here at the close would be extraordinary" (Dillmann), but 
in reality a hypothetical promise of future blessedness would be 
scarcely less surprising. 

peace means national prosperity, "welfare," as explained in the 
next verse (cf. ch. Ixvi. 12); righteousness is used in the same 
sense as in ch. xlv. 8. 

as a river] i.e. a perennial stream, such as the Euphrates (cf. 
Am. V. 24). It is easy to understand the impression made on 
the mind of a native of Palestine, accustomed to "deceitful 
brooks" that run dry in the summer, by the sight of a great 
river, flowing on for ever in undiminished volume. The actual 
history of Israel had been like the wadis of Judea, transient 
gleams of prosperity being interrupted by long intervals of mis- 
fortune ; the river suggests to the writer an image of the boundless 
and unfailing blessedness which would have followed the keeping 
of the divine commandments. 

the waves of the sea] Cf. ch. xi. 9. 

19. as the sand] A common comparison; see ch. x. 22; 
Gen. xxii. 17; Hos. i. 10, etc. 

like the grains thereof] The word used resembles a fem. plur. 
of that which immediately precedes ("bowels"); hence some 
commentators translate "the entrails thereof" (i.e. the fishes), 
taking as antecedent of the pronoun the word "sea" in the 
previous verse (see marg.). It would be better to explain it at 
once of the "entrails" of the sand (i.e. worms), for which there 
is said to be a Syriac parallel (see Payne Smith, Thesaurus, 
col. 2185). But both comparisons alike are prosaic and unnatural. 
The word is no doubt identical with the Aramaic ma' ah, "kernel" 
(generally used of a small coin). 

his name etc.].iis name (that of the "seed") should not be cut 
ofl. etc. 

20, 21 (cf. ch. lii. 11, 12) form the lyrical conclusion of this 

96 ISAIAH XLVIII. 20—22 

20 Go 5'e forth of Babylon, lice yc from the Chaldeans; 
with a \-oice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even 
to the end of the earth ; say ye, i'he Lord Jiatii redeemed 

21 his servant Jacob. And they thirsted not when he led 
them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow 
out of the rock for them : he clave the rock also, and 

22 the waters gushed out. There is no peace, saith the 
Lord, unto the wicked. 

division of the prophecy. In anticipation of this second exodus 
of Israel, the prophet puts a song of praise in the mouth of the 
redeemed exiles. 

20. flee ye from the Chaldeans] Or. "from Chaldea" (see on 
xlvii. i). The verb flee probably means no more than "hasten" 
(see ch. lii. 12). 

with a voice of singing... tell this] The exiles' shout of joy is a 
revelation to the world of the greatness of the God of Israel. 
utter it] Lit. "send it forth," as in ch. xlii. i. 

21. These are still words of the ransomed people. The 
allusions are to the miracles in the wilderness of Sinai (cf. Ex. 
xvii. 6; Num. xx. 11) which are represented as having been 
repeated during the desert journey of the returning exiles. 

22. The words are taken from ch. Ivii. 21, where, however, 
they stand in their proper connexion. Here they are either a 
gloss or an editorial insertion intended to mark the close of a 
division of the prophecy. See the Introduction, p. x. f. 

Chapters XLIX.— LV. 

The beginning of ch. xlix. marks a distinct advance in the 
development of the prophet's conceptions (see Introduction). 
"The controversial tone, the rep eated compariso ns between 
Jehovah and the idols, with the argume nts based up on them, 
disappear"; the prophetf eels that. as~regarcls these points, he 
has nratfe~ru s positioTTsillScient Jxsecure. For the same reason, 
allusitmsn-o uyrus and his conquest of Babylon cease also ; that, 
hkewise, is now taken for granted" (Driver, Isaiah'^, pp. 148 f.). 
In the remaining discourses (chh. xlix. — Iv.) the author concen- 
trates his attention almost exclusively on his central message of 
consolation, and the glorious future in store for Israel. His 
treatment of this theme moves along two lines, which alternate 
with each other as the manner of the writer is. The first is 
represented by the idea of the Servant of the Lord, the second 
by the figure of Zion, both being personifications, although in 
very different senses, of the people of Israel (see on ch. xl. i). 
The Ser\'ant represents the ideal Israel as Jehovah's instrument, 
first, in restoring the unity and prosperity of the nation, and 


second, in extending the knowledge of God to the nations of the 
world. Zion, on the other hand, is the representative of Israel 
in its passive aspect, as deserted and humbled in the present, 
but at the same time the recipient of the blessings which accrlie 
from the work and sufferings of the Lord's Servant. 

Ch. XLIX. 1 — 13. The Servant of Jehovah : his Fidelity 
AMIDST Discouragements, and the ultimate Success of 
HIS Mission. 

This opening section consists of : 

i. A new description of the mission and experience of the 
Servant of Jehovah (cf. ch. xlii. i — 4) in the form of an address 
by the Servant to the nations {vv. i — 6). These verses form 
the second of the four "Servant-poems" which occur in the 

ii. A promise of speedy restoration to Israel, obviously based 
on the preceding description {vv. 7 — 12). 

iii. A hymn of praise to Jehovah, called forth as usual by the 
prospect of deliverance (v. 13). 

1 — 6. The Servant's address to the nations. The passage 
forms the natural sequel to ch. xlii. i — 4, and adds some fresh 
features to the portrait there pre'seiiTed. (i) The Servant, 
speaking now in his own name, express es his conscio usness of 
the miss ion entrusted to him bv Tehoy ah (vv. i — ^ (2) He 
records his failure in the pa st, and the sen se of disappointment 
caused in hiTTl by LhB apparelit truitlessness of his labour ; yet 
his faith in God remains constant (v. 4). (3) But now his doubts 
have bee n removed bv a revelation of the greater purpose for 
which Jehovali has raised him up ; viz. to be the organ of His 
salvation to the ends of the earth (vv. 5, 6). — Metrically, the 
poem falls into six stanzas, exactly resembhng the three of 
xlii. I — 4: vv. I, 2, 3 + 56. 4, 5 a, 6. 

It still remains the most probable view that the ideal Israel is 
here spoken of- under the nam£_oi__;^e Servant of JelTovah ; 
although two Objections are raised in addition to those suggested 
by xlii. I — 4. (a) T he Servant is described as one who has a 
history and an experi ence behind him, as, w^ell as a mission to 
fulfil. Now- this experience is not that of the nation, which was 
conscious of no unique religious mission, and therefore had no 
such sense of defeat as is described in v. 4. And if we say that 
it is not the actual but the ideal Israel that is meant, we are 
asked to explain how an ideal can have a history, or when the 
ideal Israel was born, or before whom Jehovah mentioned its 
name (Duhm). (b) Another difficulty is created by the fact 
that the Servant is here expressly distinguished from. Israel 
when it is said that the resto ration of the nation is to be effec ted 
by his-activity. But after all these difficulties are only super- 
ficial. The distinction between a personified and idealised 


49 Listen. O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye peoples, 
from far: the Lord hath called me from the womb; 

nation and its individual members was quite familiar to Old 
Testament thought (see xlix. 21 ; Hos. ii. 2), and is not unin- 
telligible to ours. To the first objection, therefore, \vc can reply 
that if an ideal cannot lia\-c a liistorv (si irrlv a very disputable 
proposition!) . m ulr;ilisril nation coiiainK- m ay. What is here 
described is simply the realisation of the idea latent in Israel's 
history from the first, through the awakening consciousness of 
its unique vocation in the best minds of the people. Since the 
beginning of prophecy there had been a section of the p eople 
tha t had laboured lor the con\e rsion of Israel, and there were 
doubtless many among the exiles wUOSC feelings of disap point- 
ment are JruthfuUy reflected by the language p ut into the mouth 
of the SeFvant: mere is nothing unnatural in the supposition 
that this part y should be regarded as emb odying the true genius 
of Israel, or that tneir experience should be transferred to the 
ideal figure by whic h the prophet sets forth his in spired- intcr- 
pretation of Israel's history. Nor is there any difhculty in the 
further thought that the ideal Servant, as represented by this 
minority, laboured for the reunion and upbuilding of the future 
Israel. fE\- en a modern w riter would not be charg_ed with 
confus ed thinking if lie spjoke of England as h,n ving a duty to 
her poverty-stricken population . ) This also corresponds to a 
facf of history, for nothing is more certain than that but for the 
influence of the prophetic teaching the Israelitish natio nality 
would Ji aye perished duri ng the Ca ptivity^ The prophet's con- 
ception of Israel's uiiique position is singularl}'^ profound as well 
as elevated ; but it does not appear that any feature thus far 
introduced into the portrait of Jehovah's Servant violates the 
conditions of a natural personifica tion. (See further Intro- 
duction, pp. lix ff."! and Appendix, Note II.) 

1 — 3 + 5 b. The call and equipment of the Servant by 
Jehovah. The nations of the world are addressed, because the 
great announcement that the speaker has to make (?;. 6) concerns 
them. It is the prophetic character of the Servant's mission 
which is here emphasised, altho ugh the self-conscio usness 
attribuigd to him seems too great tobe that ot any private 
individual, whet her prophet or tea chen 

1. ^ isles... ye peoples] See on ch. xli. i. 

from far] Better afar, simply : "ye distant peoples." 

the Loud hath called me (xlii. 6, etc.) from the womb] Cf. ch. 
xliy. 2, 24, xlvi. 3, where the same metaphor is used of the 
beginning of the nation's history. The idea is not that the 
call was then consciously received and responded to, but (as we 
see from Jer. i. 5) that the later experience of vocation reflects 


ISAIAH XLIX. 1—4 99 

from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention 
of my name : and he hath made my mouth Hke a sharp 2 
sword, in the shadov/ of his hand hath he hid me ; and 
he hath made me a pohshed shaft, in his quiver hath he 
kept me close : and he said unto me. Thou art my servant ; 3 
Israel, in whom I will be glorified. But I said, I have 4 

back light on the earher hfe from its origin. made mention 

of my name] Cf. xUii. i. According to Duhm and others the 
"name" referred to is the title Servant of Jehovah, wliich 
"designates its bearer as the revealer of God." But the Heb. 
phrase will hardly bear that interpretation. It never means to 
confer a title, but either to keep in remembrance (2 Sam. xviii. 18 ; 
Ps. xlv. 17), or simply to utter (Ex. xxiii. 13; cf. Am. vi. 10). 
The second sense is alone suitable here ; and the name must be 
the proper name by which the person is individualised : e.g. (if 
the Servant be the nation) the name Israel (see v. 3). 

2. The Servant is described as one prepared in secret for his 
great work. He compares himself to a weapon fashioned by 
Jehovah for His own use, but kept in reser\'e till the fulness of 
time. As the ideal proph et, he sp eaks of his mouth, the organ of 
pro phetic u tt erance (s ee Jer. 1. 9 ; It!. Vi. 7), a.^ made like oTsharp 
sword in virtue of the "word " which Jehovah puts in it (ch. li. 16 ; 
cf. Heb. iv. 12). 

in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me] (ch. li. 16). The 
metaphor denotes not protection merely but secrecy. 

a polished arrow] See Jer. li. 11. 

Tliere is nothing in the verse inconsistent with the idea that 
the spe aker is Israel p ersonified. The fundamental thought, 
translated into modern language, would be that prophecy is the 
highes t expression of the genius of I srael ; and the i dealisej nation 
is naturally identified with^ what is best and most char^.cteristir. in 
its h~t;fory" MiKfirTve'^tpji with thp rhararter of t beJr^paL prnph p.t 
Ancfligain, Jehovah's hiding of His Servant may express the 
truth that Israel had been providentially preserved through long 
ages for the sake of the spiritual endowments which made it the 
mou thpie ce of revelation. The further idea that the real mission 
of Israel was concealed both from the world and from the nation 
itself is perfectly intelligible, and is clearly suggested by the 

3. Israel, in whom I will glorify myself] The word Israel is 
rightly taken as continuation of the predicate. It is obviously, 
if genuine, fatal to the individualistic conception of the Servant; 
and is accordingly regarded as a gloss by those who hold ^hat 
view. The textual point is difficult to determine. The sense is 
certainly complete without it ; and the additions of the LXX. in 
xlii. 6 shew how readily such a gloss might creep into a MS. 

loo ISAIAH XLIX. ^, 5 

laboured in vain, I have spent ni}- strength for nouglit 
and xanitj- : }'et surely my judgement is with the Lord, 

5 and my recompence with my God. And now saith the 
Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, 
to bring Jacob again to him, ^and that Israel be gathered 

, unto him : (for I am honourable in the eyes of the Lord, 

^ Another reading is, hut Israel is not gathered, yet shall I he &c. 

On the other hand the interpretation given above of the last 
clause of v. i may suggest a reason for the sohtary occurrence of 
the proper name in this one Servant-passage. Rhythm, also, 
though not decisive, on the whole favours the retention of the 
word. But the balance of evidence is too uncertain to admit of 
a strong argument for the national interpretation being founded 
on this text. 

5 b. The transposition of the second half of v. 5 to this place 
is due to Duhm. It is recommended partly by the want of con- 
gruity with its present context (hence th;- parenthesis of R.V.), 
and partly because it here completes tlie stanza begun in v. 3 
(see the introductory note, p. 97). Render (with a shght vowel 
change) : And I was honourable in the eyes of the Lord etc. 

4. Although cast down for the moment by his want of success, 
the Servant does not y'\e\A to despondency (cf. xlii. 4), but leaves 
his cause in the hands of his God. 

But I saicTl Or, "thought" (with emphasis on the "I"). 

my jwigement] i.e. "my right," as in ch. xl, 27. 

my recompence'] See ch. xl. 10. 

5 a, 6. The Servant is encouraged by the revelation of a 
loftier mission than he had heretofore been conscious of. 

to bring Jacob again to htm] The clause expresses Jehovah's 
purpose in forming the Servant; viz. the rehgious restoration of 
Israel to its God. The subject of the verb may be either Jehovah 
or His Servant ("that he might bring," or "that / might bring"). 
Whichever view be taken, the Servant is distinctly conceived as 
having a mission to fulfil for the people of Israel. To get rid of 
this id ea, so difficult to harmoni se with the theo ry"~tlia|3the 
Serva nt is the historic Israel Budxle explams the ml. m a gerundi al 
sense (see Davidson, ^ynt. § 93) with Jehovah as subj. : 
"in bringing back Jacob to Himself." This construction is 
correct in grammar, but as exegesis it is wrong, inasmuch as it 
carries back the reference to the forming of the nation in the 
Exodus period, which is opposed to the sense of the % erbs em- 

and that Israel he gathered unto him] The continuation of the 
previous clause, with the usual resolution of the inf. into the 
finite verb (Dav. § 96). R.V. here adopts the Qere 't>, "to him," 

ISAIAH XLIX. 5, 6 10 1 

and my God is become my strength :) yea., he saith, It 6 
is too Hght a thing that thou shouldest be my servant to 
raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preser\'ed 
of Israel : I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, 
^that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the 

^ Or, that tny salvation may be 

for x*?, "not," as in ix. 3 (see A.V.). The verb for "gather," 
however, is used in two senses, either "to gather in" or "to take 
away," "gather off" (e.g. Ezek. xxxiv. 29, R.V. marg.); by 
adopting the latter we might retain the negative particle as in 
the consonantal text: "and that Israel be not swept away" 
(Duhm). But R.V. is better. 

6. yea, he saiik] With the removal of 5 b, this resumption of 
tlie verb (v. 5) is unnecessary, and the metre is perhaps (see next 
note) improved by its omission. 

It is too light a thing etc.] More exactly: "It is too light for 
thy being a servant to me that thou shouldst raise up," etc., 
i.e. "To restore Israel is the least part of thy vocation as my 
servant." It is held, however, by many recent commentators 
that the words "for thy being a servant to me" represent a gloss 
in the Heb. text, and that we should render simpl}^ : It is a light 
thing to raise up. etc. The sense is not affected. The metre 
perhaps favours the excision of the phrase ; but if it be a gloss 
it is a correct gloss, defining more clearly the prophet's thought. 

raise up here means "re-establish," just as "build " frequently 
means "rebuild" (Ps. cxxii. 3, etc.). 

the preserved of Israeli Those who have survived the destruction 
of the state (Ezek. vi. 12, R.V. marg.). 

/ will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles'] ch. xlii. 6. 

that thoti mayest be my salvation etc.] Rather: that my 
salvation may , be, etc. Comp. the N.T. application in Acts 
xiii. 47. The verse evidently describes an enlargement of the 
Servant's conception of his vocation. Previously, he had been* 
conscious only of a mission to Israel, and in that mission the 
significance of the title "Servant of Jehovah" had seemed to be 
exhausted (v. 5). Now it is revealed to him that the name 
includes a higher function, that, namely, of being the mediator of 
salvation to all mankind. And since the greater destiny contains 
the less, the acceptance of this new commission delivers him 
from the sense of failure by which he had been oppressed (v. 4). 
Whatever view be taken of the Servant's personality, he speaks 
as the exponent of the religion of revelation ; and the fact here 
represented is the expansion of that religion from being a national 
to be a universal religion. The ideal was realised only in the 
New Testament dispensation, so that in this as in jnany other 

102 ISAIAH XLIX. 6—8 

7 earth. Thus saitli the Lord, the redeemer of Israel, 
and liis Holv One, to him whom man despiseth, to him 
whom tlie nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers : 
Kings shall see and arise ; princes, and they shall worship ; 
because of the Lord that is faithful, even the Holy One 

8 of Israel, who hath chosen thee. Tlius saith the Lord, 
In an acceptable time have I answered thee, and in a 
day of sah-ation have I helped thee : and I will preserve 
thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to 

respects the portrait of the Servant is an indirect prophecy of 
Christ. Cf. Luke ii. 32. 

7 — 12. As in xHi. 5 ff., the Servant-poem is the basis of a 
serie s of consoling p romisn.s. It is impossible to agree with 
Duliiii mat ilie original connexion is to be restored by simply 
lifting vv. I — 6 from their present position. The two great 
divisions of tlie prophecy, xl. — xlviii. and xlix. ff., are too clearly 
distinct to allow us to take xlix. 7 ff. as the direct continuation 
of xlviii. 21 ; and on the other hand xlix. 7 fi. form no suitable 
introduction to a new section of the book. 

. 7. Israel shall be raised from the deepest degradation to the 
highest honour. The verse is remarkable as anticipating the 
main idea of chh. lii. 13 — liii. 15; a fact which seems to shew 
that the prophet had the whole cycle of Servant-poems before 
him in w-riting this passage. 

to him whom despiseth] Lit. to the despised of soul ; i.e. 
"to one who is heartily despised," the "soul" being the seat of 
emotion. Comp. Ps. xvii. 9 ("my deadly enemies " = "they 
that hate iiie in the soul "). In the parallel phrase to the 
abhorred of people, "people" seems to be used of men indefinitely 
(the German Leute) as in Gen. xx. 4 ("righteous folk"). The 
words for "despised" and "abhorred" are both peculiar in form, 
and the text may be at fault. 

• a servjznt of rulers] of tyrants (ch. xiv. 5). The subject is 
obviously Israel, with whom (we hold) the Servant is partly 

Kings shall see (the exaltation of Israel) and arise] in amazement 
and reverence (cf. ch. lii. 15; Job xxix. 8). -princes (sc. shall 

arise) and do homage] Lit. "bow themselves down." 

who hath chosen thee] On the idiom see Driver's Tenses, 
§ 76 a. 

8 — 12. A picture of the emancipation and return of the 

8. In an acceptable time] Better: in a season of favour. 
Cf. ch. Ixi. 2, and the citation in 2 Cor. vi. 2. 

for a covenant of the people] See on ch. xlii. 6. 

ISAIAH XLIX. 8—12 103 

^ raise up the land, to make them inherit the desolate 
heritages ; saying to them that are bound, Go forth ; to 9 
them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall 
feed in the ways, and on all bare heights shall be their 
pasture. They shall not hunger nor thirst ; neither shall 10 
the '^heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy 
on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water 
shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains n 
a way, and my high ways shall be exalted. Lo, these 12 
shall come from far : and, lo, these from the north and 

^ Or, establish the earth ^ Or, mirage See ch. xxxv. 7. 

to raise up the land etci] Render: restoring (see v. 6) the land 
(of Israel), allotting (Deut. xxi. 16) the desolate heritages. The 
construction is the same as at the beginning of xlii. 7 ; and 
presents the same ambiguity; i.e. the imphcit subject of the two 
verbs may be either Jehovah Himself or the Servant. The 
former view is here the more natural, since it is only by a some- 
what bold figure that the repeopling etc. of the land could be 
attributed to the agency of the ideal Israel, or even of an ideal 

9. saying] continuing the previous construction. 

them that are bound. ..them that are in darkness] i.e. the exiles; 
cf. xlii. 7. In xlii. iS ff. the Servant (i.e. the people) is spoken 
of as the blind and imprisoned ; here he is the agent of their 
deliverance. It seems clear, therefore, that II Isaiah himself 
recognised a distinction between the idealised nation and the 
aggregate of individuals who composed the actual nation. The 
second half of the verse introduces a new figure, that of the flock 
(see ch. xl. 11) led by Jehovah, the Good Shepherd. 

They shall feed in the luays] Or better as LXX., in all the ways, 
wherein they go. 

bare heights] Cf. ch. xli. 18. 

10. neither shall the heat... smite them] The word for heat 
should probably be rendered the hot wind (Sirocco; LXX. 
Kaiiffup). It is often taken to denote the mirage (see on ch. 
xxxv. 7), but that meaning is unsuitable here on account of the 
verb "smite." 

11. The expression my mountains is difficult. An allusion to 
the mere fact of creation is not natural, and to understand it of 
the mountains of Palestine (as in ch. xiv. 25) would limit the 
image to the last stage of the return journey. Possibly the text 
should be amended so as to read "mountains" simply. Cf. 
LXX. {irdv opos). 

my high ways] See on ch. xl. 4. 

I04 ISAIAH XLIX. 12. 13 

13 from the west ; and tliese from the land of Sinim. Sinj^, 
O heavens; and be jo5ful, O earth; and break fortii 
into singing. O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted 
his jjeople, and will have compassion upon his afflicted. 

12. The return of exiles from the most distant parts of the 

these from the land of Sinini (ths Sinites)) The last word has 
never been properly explained. As tiie only proper name in the 
verse the writer must have had some special reason for mentioning 
it; and the only reason that can be plausibly imagined is that 
Si)ii»i lay on the utmost limit of his geographical horizon. This 
would exclude two suggested identifications: (i) the Cana anite 
Sinites of Gen. x. 17, and (2) Sin (Pelusium) on the nearest border 
of Egypt. Again, fro m the fact t hat "no rtli" and " vvest" have 
been already mentioned we may^easonablj'Tnfcr^ftiat the Sinim 
must be looked for either in the far East or the far South. The 
former is the view of most commentators, who find in Sinim the 
name China (properly "the Chinese"). If the prophecy had 
been written some centuries later this hypothesis would be more 
plausible than it is. The word might be the same as the Arabic 
and Syriac name for China (]^^'), although there is a difference in 
the first consonant which would excite misgivings. But it is 
generally considered that this name is derived from that of the 
Tsin-dynasty, which dates from 255. b.c; it could not therefore 
ha\e reached the West in the time of the Exile. The numerous 
attempts to find an older Chinese origin of the word are wasted 
ingenuity. Moreover, it is inconceivable that Jewish captives 
had been transported to China at so early a period ; and specula- 
tions about the possibility of intercourse between the Chinese 
and Western Asia hardly touch the question. The Sinim are 
located in the South by the Targ. and Vulg., which render "a 
Southern land " ; also b}' Cheyne, who, in his Introdticiion p. 275), 
revives a suggestion of J. D. Michaelis that Syene (Assouan) is 
meant (reading Q'*01p for C*:*D, cf. Ezek. xxix. 10, xxx. 6). 

13. The lyrical conclusion of the passage on the Ser\-ant, in 
character resembling ch, xliv. 23. It will be remembered that 
a similar lyrical outburst (xlii. 10 — 12) followed the promises 
appended to the first Servant-poem. 

his afflicted] See on xli. 17. " 

Ch. XLIX. 14 — 1-. 3. The Consolation of Zion. 

(i) vv. 14—21. In an apostrophe to Jerusalem the prophet 
announces the speedy return of her population and the rebuilding 
of her waste places. The poetry of the passage is singularly 
beautiful, and charged with tender emotion. Zion, the idealised 
cit^', is the wife of Jehovah, and the mother of her inhabitants. 

ISAIAH XLIX. 14, 15 105 

But Zion said, Jehovah hath forsaken me, and the 14 
Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her 15 
sucking child, that she should not haA^e compassion on 

Although she now thinks of herself as rejected and barren (v. 14), 
she is assured of the unchanging love of her God (vv. 15, 16) 
which will soon be manifested in her restoration to the joy of 
motherhood (17 — 20). The ecstasy of amazement and delight 
with which she recognises and welcomes her children (v. 21) is 
finely opposed to the opening picture of her desolation and 
despondency. Note also the contrast between the whole con- 
ception and the fate of the "virgin daughter of Babylon" (xlvii. 
8, 9). 

(ii) Ch. xlix. 22 — 1. 3. Three oracles, confirming the promise 
to Zion. [Du hm questions the gen uineness of _this_s,ection ; on 
account of_its niarked diiferencij IrMin the st3'le,_and__especially 
the spirit of Dculcru-lsaiali, diid u^. etiually striking. affinities 
wit h. Trito-Isai£\ h.] 

(i) vv. 22, 23. On a signal from Jehovah the nations shall 
bring home the scattered children of Zion ; nay, their kings and 
queens shall esteem it an honour to foster the newly-formed 

(2) vv. 24 — 26. No earthly power can interpose between 
Jehovah and the deliverance of His people ; Israel is His lawful 
prey, and none shall pluck them from Him (see the notes below). 
In thus representing The deliverance as effected by force, the 
prophet no doubt^ias in view t he one nation that wnuld not 
obey the^signal of wT 22I 

(3) 1. I — 3. Lastly, there exists no legal impediment to the 
redemption of Israel; Jehovah has issued no sentence of formal 
rejection against His people, nor has anyone acquired the rights 
of a creditor over them {v. i). He therefore expresses surprise 
that there is so, little response to the promise of salvation, so 
little faith in His almighty power. 

14. But Zion said] The connexion with what precedes — 
the transition from the Servant as the agent, to Zion as the 
recipient, of salvation — is clearly indicated. Zion is the city of 
Jerusalem' personified (cf. v. 16) and, by a common O.T. figure, 
conceived as the mother of the citizens (see further on v. 21). 
This is the primary reference of the figure, but since the city 
derives its religious significance from its being the centre of the 
national life, Zion really represents the nation of Israel, as in 
ch. xl. 2. Hence the complaint of this verse is the same as was 
previously heard from the lips of Israel (ch. xl. 27). 

the Lord] The word when pointed, as here {'Adondi), is always 
equivalent to Jehovah. The suggestion that it may be used in 
the sense of "husband" (as Gen. xviii. 12) would demand a 
different vocalisation ('Adoni). But although the idea of Jehovah 

io6 ISAIAH XLIX. 15—18 

the son of her womb? yea, these may forget, yet will 
16 not I forget thee. Behold, I have graven tliee upon the 
pahns of m\' hands ; thy walls are continualh' before me. 
'7 ^Thy children make haste; thy destroyers and the\' that 
I s made thee waste shall go forth of thee. Lift up thine 
eyes round about, and behold: all these gather them- 
selves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the 
Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all as 
with an ornament, and"^ gird thyself with them, like a 

' According to some ancient authorities. Thy builders. 

as the husband of Zion was undoubtedh- present to the prophet's 
mind (1. i, hv. 6) it does not emerge in this verse. 

15. Jehovah's remembrance of Zion is more enduring than 
the strongest human affection. Even a mother's pity for an 
infant may fail. yea, these may forget] Or, should even 
these forget (Cheyne). 

yet will nnt I forget thee] See on ch. xliv. 21. 

16. / have graven thee} Not the name merely but the picture 
of the city, as the next clause shews. Thy walls may refer to 
the ruined walls with their mute appeal to Jehovah's compassion, 
or to the plan of the new walls, which rem.inds Him of His purpose 
to rebuild them. The latter is more likely. 

upon the palms of my hands] upon both palms. 

17. 18. Already in vision the prophet .sees the return of the 
exiles and calls on Zion to welcome her sons. 

Instead of Thy children the chief ancient versions, and the 
important Babylonian Codex have "Thy builders" H^y^ for 
^)33), a sense which is recommended both by the antithesis to 
"thy destroyers," etc., and the connexion with the previous verse. 
Yet it is doubtful if the reading on the v.'hole is preferable to that 
of the received text. The latter at least is true to the fundamental 
image of the passage, which appears again in vv. 20 f. 

thy destroyers etc.] The expressions almost suggest that 
Jerusalem was still occupied by Chaldean troops. 

18. Lift up... come to thee] These words occur verbatim in 
Ix. 4. 

As I live, saith the Lord] Jehovah's oath by Himself (ch. xlv. 
23) introduces a new, though closely related, conception; the 
inhabitants being compared to the bridal attire with which Zion 
replaces the signs of her widowhood. 

gird thyself with them] Strictly, gird them on. The verb is 
connected with the word for "girdle" in ch. iii. 20 {kishshiirim, 
R.V. "sashes "). It was evidently an ornamental girdle, possibly 

IS AT AH XLTX. 18—21 107 

bride. For, as for thy waste and thy desolate places 19 
and thy land that hath been destroyed, surely now shalt 
thou be too strait for the inhabitants, and they that 
swallowed thee up shall be far away. The children of 20 
thy bereavement shall 3'et say in thine ears, The place 
is too strait for me : give place to me that I may dwell. 
Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath ^begotten 21 

^ Or, borne 
a part of the bridal costume (cf. Jer. ii. 32, "can... a bride forget 
her girdle"). 

19, 20. In place of her present solitude, the ideal Zion shall 
yet look down on a densely peopled city, whose inhabitants are 
embarrassed for want of room. 

19. For...inhabiiants etc.'] There appears to be some textual 
disorder, the three subjects in the first half of the verse having no 
predicate. The R.V. gets over the difficulty by taking "thy 
waste places" etc. as a sort of casus pendens, resumed in the 
"thou" of the last clause; but this is a forced construction. 
The most probable solution is that the original conclusion of 
the first clause has been lost in copying ; the second would then 
commence with the words For now. So Duhni formerly. He 
now prefers a more complicated solution, involving the omission 
of 18 a (as borrowed from Ix. 4), the transposition of 19 a and 18 b, 
and some textual alterations too intricate to follow here. His 
view, however, has the assthetic merit of making the adornment 
of Zion to be, not her inliabitants, but the revived landscape 

thy land that hath been destroyed] Lit. " thy land of destruction." 

20. The children of thy bereavement^ i.e. those born to thee in 
the time of thy bereavement (see v. 21). 

shall yet say in thine ears] The mother overhears the talk of 
her vigorous and enterprising offspring. 

The place is too strait for me] Cf. 2 Ki. vi. i. 

give place to me] This peculiar sense of the verb (usually 
"draw near") finds an exact parallel in Gen. xix. 9. Comp. 
Ixv. 5, "draw near to thyself" = "stand off," — a different, but 
synonymous verb. 

21. Zion is bewildered at finding herself once more "a joyful 
mother of children" (Ps. cxiii. 9). 

Who hath begotten] Rather : Who hath borne (in spite of the 
masculine gender of the verb). The peculiar figure is probably 
to be explained by the custom illustrated in Gen. xvi. i ff., 
XXX. I ff., etc. The Exile was the time of Zion's barrenness; 
the generation of Israelites that had grown up in a foreign land 
are regarded as not her natural children, although legally they 
belong to her, having been borne for her by a stranger. 

io8 ISAIAH XLIX. 21—23 

nil' these, seeing I have been bereaved of ni}- rhihhcii, 
and am ^solitary, an exile, and wandering to and fro? 
and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left 
alone; these, where were they? 

21 Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine 
hand to the nations, and set up my ensign to the peoples : 
and they shall bring thy sons in their bosom, and thy 

23 daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And 
kings shall be th}^ nursing fathers, and their queens thy 
nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with 
their faces to the earth, and lick the dust of thy feet ; 

^ Or, barren 

seeing I have been bereaved etc.] seeing I am childless and un- 
fruitful. The clause immediately following (which must be 
rendered "exiled and imprisoned" [read riTiDNl]) introduces a 
conception alien to the image of the verse. Zion herself was not 
"exiled" but "left alone," when her children were taken from 
her. The words are wanting in the LXX. and may be removed 
as a gloss. 

these, where were they?] If this were the sense intended, the 
verb "were" would probably require to have been expressed. 
But the question that Zion broods over is not ivhere her children 
had been, but how she comes to have children at all, who are 
strangers to her. Render, therefore (with Dillmann), these, how 
(is it) with them? of what description are they? (cf. Jud. viii. 18). 

22, 23. The first of the three short oracles describes the 
restoration of the exiles as a spontaneous act of homage on the 
part of the Gentiles. The conception is intermediate between 
that of ch. xlv. 14 ff., where the nations acknowledge the divinity 
of Jehovah and the religious supremacy of Israel, and that of 
ch. Ix. 4, 8, Ixvi. 20; cf. ch. xi. 11, 12. 

set up my ensign] as a signal ; see on ch. v. 26. 

they shall bring thy sons in the bosom] of the garment (sinus) 
where httle cliildren were carried (Num. xi. 12). The word 
belongs to late Hebrew (Neh. v. 13 [E.V. lap] ; Ps. cxxix. 7). 

23. thy nursing fathers] thy guardians; i.e. of course, the 
guardians of her children (in spite of ch. Ix. 16) ; see Num. xi. 12 ; 
2 Ki. X. I ; Esth. ii. 7, etc. The figure appears to express the 
permanent relation of the kingdoms of the world to the glorified 
people of God. 

their queens] Lit. their princesses. 

lick the dust of thy feet] An extravagant, but thoroughly 
Oriental, metaphor for self-humiliation (cf. Mic. vii. 17 ; Ps. Ixxii. 
9). Gesenius quotes from a Persian poem the following sentiment 

ISAIAH XLIX. 23, 24 109 

and thou shall know that I am the Lord, and they that 
wait for me shall not be ashamed. Shall the prey be 24 
taken from the mighty, or ^the lawful captives be 

1 Heb. the captives of the just. Or, as read by the Vulg. and 
Syr., tJie captives of the terrible 

of a prince to his conqueror : " When I shall have the good fortune 
to kiss the dust of thy feet, then I shall believe that fortune 
flatters me," etc. Comp. ch. xlv. 14, Ix. 14. Duhm perhaps 
exaggerates the idea of the metaphor when he asks rhetorically, 
"Must the not- Jews become the most abject, dust-licking slaves, 
in order that the Jews may be assured that their hope in Jehovah 
was justified? " although he is quite right to point out the differ- 
ence between this (and similar passages in Trito-Isaiah), and the 
humility and unselfish helpfulness wliich Christianity demands of 
its adherents. 

24 — 26. The emancipation of Israel is here regarded as having 
to be effected by force, and Jehovah pledges His omnipotence to 
the task. 

24. from the mighty'] from a hero. the laiufiil captives'] Lit. 

the captivity (= captives) of a righteous one. Many authorities 
adopt the reading of the Pesh. and Vulg. (p"iy instead of p'' li, 
as V. 25), and render: "captives of a terrible one." \'arious 
interpretations of the pass ige are given, but none is entirely 
satisfying, (i) The verse has generally been considered to be 
a new utterance of despair on the part of the Israehtes, "Can the 
tyrant be made to disgorge his prey? " (Cheyne), — to which v. 25 
gives an affirmative answer. On this view (which is certainly the 
one that first suggests itself) the substitution of 'drtz (terrible) 
for zaddi'li (righteous) seems imperative, since the latter expression 
could not possibly be applied to the Chaldeans. To suppose that by 
the " hero " and the " righteous one " Cyrus is meant is at variance 
with the whole tenor of the prophecy {xli. 25, xliv. 28, xlv. i ff.). 

(2) Dillmann on the other hand holds that the reference in v. 24 
is to Jehovah, who Himself asks if any power can deprive Him 
of His lawful captives, the Israelites. The answer to be supplied 
is, "No"; and this is confirmed by v. 25: "For though the 
captives of a (human) hero may be delivered, yet will I (the 
Almighty) contend with," etc. But the image of Israel as the 
protected prey of Jehovah is in itself unnatural, and finds a very 
precarious analogy in that of the lion and his prey in ch. xxxi. 4. 

(3) A still more subtle view is that question and answer are 
related as in w. 15; the question stating generally a supposition 
in the highest degree improbable (though still conceivable), and 
the answer conceding the possibility in order the more strongly 
to assert that the idea cannot be entertained with regard to 
Jehovah. The sense might be paraphrased as follows : "Can the 

no ISAIAH XI. IX. 24~L. i 

25 dcli\-crocl? But thus saith the Lord, E\'en the captives 
of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the 
terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him 
that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. 

20 And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own 
fiesh ; and they shall be drunken with their own l)lood, 
as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the 
Lord am thy saviour, and thy redeemer, the Mighty 
One of Jacob. 
50 Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother's 

captives of a mighty man be rescued from his grasp? Yes, the 
captives of the mighty may be deH\ered, but / will ^victoriously) 
maintain thy cause against thy enemies," etc. In this case also 
it is better, though not necessary, to read 'drtz, which may be 
used in a neutral sense as in Jer. xx. 11 (of Jehovah). The defect 
of this explanation is that it seems to lose touch with the figure 

25. Read For instead of But, and later in the verse yet instead 
of for. , 

26. / will feed them that etc.] Better: I will cause thine 
oppressors to eat their own flesh (cf. ch. ix. 20; Zech. xi. 9). 
The enemies of Zion shall be consumed by internecine war — a 
common eschatological representation (Ezek. xxxviii. 21;, Hag. 
ii. 22; Zech. xiv. 13). The vindictive passion here expressed 
would be a dark shadow on the noble idealism of the second 

and all flesh shall know] Comp. "And thou shalt know" at 
the end of the previous oracle [v. 23); further ch. Ix. 16, where 
the sentence is almost identically repeated. 

the Mighty One of Jacob] See on ch. i. 24. 

1. 1 — 3. The third oracle meets another doubt which must 
have occurred to the exiles, viz. that the covenant relation 
between Jehovah and Israel has been broken beyond possibility 
of renewal. In v. i this" fear is dispelled by the help of two 
analogies from common life. 

1. Where is the bill... away ?] No such document exists : the re 
has been _no^ irrevoc able_divorce. Although Jehovah ha.s had 
good reasonTto adopt this~exTreme measure (Jer. iii. 8), He has 
not done it, but ha'; left the way open for a reconciliation. The 
effect of the "bill of divorcement" was to make the separation 
absolute and final; the woman was free to mai-ry another, but 
could not after that be received back by her former husband 
(Deut. xxiv. I — 4). Both Mosaic and Mohammedan law accord 
to a husband the unrestricted right of divorce, and for this 
reason the Jewish custom was pronounced by our Lord to be 


divorcement, wherewith I have put her away ? or which 
of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, 
for your iniquities were ye sold, and for your trans- 
gressions was your mother put away. Wherefore, when 
I came, was there no man ? when I called, was there none 
to answer? Is m}^ hand shortened at all, that it cannot 

inconsistent with the true idea of marriage and a concession to 
the weakness of human nature (Matt. xix. 3 ff. ; Mark x. 2 ff.). 

An entirely different interpretation is advanced by Ehrlich. 
He infers from Deut xxiv. t that the bill of divorcenient was 
only gnen when the wife was put awa}^ not for conjugal infidelity, 
but for some trivial reason. The fact that Israel can produce 
no such document is proof that her offence was adultery (it is 
necessarj^ to read "her" instead of "your" before "transgres- 
sions"). A woman so divorced could not marry another man, 
and ought therefore to be thankful if her former husband is 
willing to take her back. \\hy then (v. 2) do Jehovah's overtures . 
to Israel meet with no response? This ingenious theory, however, 
hardly comports with the second image of the creditor; and 
rec eives the cvnp de ^vcice from Jer. iii. 8. 

vnhich oj tny creditors is it etc.] i.e. "what creditor of mine is 
there to whom," etc.? The selling of children into slavery in 
paj-ment of a debt is another practice tolerated, though hardly 
approved;_bv_the _Law (E 2£^xxi^j£^__cf^_j;^Ki^jv\ i ; Neh . jy .^ ). 
Since in^~Tnconceivable that Jehovah should have a creditor, 
so it is impossible that He should have surrendered His rights 
over His own children. 

Behold, for vour iniquities etc.'] This is the true explanation 
of the slaver\' of'the children and the divorce of the mother, and 
this cause is removed by the offer of forgiveness (xl. 2). It is 
remarkable that the prophet does not, like Hosea and Ezekiel, 
directlv attribute sin to the ideal mother of the nation, but only 
to the individual Israelites, to whom this whole expostulation is 
addressed (cf. Hos. ii. 2). 

i^^ere ye sold] (so again ch. hi. 3). The phrase is frequently used 
in the book of Judges of the delivering of Israel into the power 
of its enemies (Jud. ii. 14, etc.). 

2. Jehovah expresses surprise that His message of redemption 
(delivered through the prophet) has been received with so little 
enthusiasm by the people. 

was there no man?] The expression occurs again in lix. 16; 
in both places the indefinite "man" is explained by the second 
member of the parallelism ; here, therefore, it means "no man to 

Is my hand shortened at all etc.] Is it the case that my hand 
is too short to redeem? (cf. lix. i). And the unreasonableness 

112 ISAIAH L. 2, 3 

reclocni? or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at mv 
rebuke I dr\' up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness : 
their lish stinketh, because there is no water, and dietli 
3 for thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and 1 
make sackcloth their covering. 

of such doubts as to Jehovah's power is then proved by an appeal 
to His miglity works in the natural sphere, probably with a 
special allusion to the miracles of the Exodus period. 

at (by) my rebuke] Cf. ch. xvii. 13; esp. Ps. civ. 7, cvi. o. 

/ make \the'\ rivers a wilderness] Ps. evil. 33. 

their fish stinketh etc.] Ex. vii. 18. 

3. Comp. Ex. X. 21. with blackness] with murky storm- 

clouds. The word, which occurs only here, denotes (like sack- 
cloth in the next clause) the garb of niournmg. Cf. Rev. vi. 12. 

The strophe ends somewhat abruptly, and the thought is 
perhaps incomplete. 

Ch. L. 4 — 11. The Lord's Servant in Conflict 
WITH Adversaries. 

In vv. 4 — 9 the Servant is again introduced, speaking of himself 
and his work, as in xlix. i — 6. He describes in the first place the 
close and intimate communion with God through which he has 
learned the ministry of comfort by tlie divine word, and his own 
rompl ete t;plf-c;ii rrpr>Hpr to fVip voire th^t trnjrl es him (vy. 4, 5); 
next, his acceptan ce of the persecution and obloquy wh ich he 
ha d to encounter in the discharge of his commission (6); and 
lastly he expresses his unwavering confidence in the help of 
Jeho vah an d the victory of his righteous cause and the dis- 
comfifufe^of all his enemies (7 — 9). 

vv. 10, IT are an appendix to the preceding description, drawing 
lessons for the encouragement of behevers {v. 10) and the warning 
of unbelievers {v. 11). The last verse contains expressions and 
even thoughts which are unlike those of the Second Isaiah ; and 
is possibly to be regarded as a later insertion in the prophecy. 
V. 10 on the other hand hardly gives ground for suspicion : and 
since it forms a natural transition to the promises of li. i — 8, it 
may be presumed to have been written by II Isaiah. 

Although the word "Servant" does not occ ur in the poem 
itself (though see v. 10), its resemblance to the three other 
" SeiA^-ajit-£assages_''_ makes it practically certain_(though thi^j is 
denied by one or two critics TIhat the_speaker_isnone^ other, than 
the ideal character who comes before us in xlii. J_sz:±^]}2£^J^z^<^' 
and lii._ i_33^iiiT T5. The^, indeed, forms an almost 
indispensable link bf~connexion between the first two and the 
last of Whilst it takes up and develops certain ideas 
thrown out in the earlier sections, and in its dramatic lorm most 

ISAIAH L. 4 113 

The Lord God hath given me the tongue of ^ them 4 

' Or, disciples 

resembles tlie second of them, its closest affinities are with lii. 13 ff. 
Common to both is the new conception of the Servant as a suf^rer, 
here at the hands of men, there at the hands of men and God 
aUke. In the present passage we have the Servant's own con- 
sciousness with regard to his sufferings, these being regarded from 
an ethical point of \icw .m lirout^lit <.in him by fidelity to his 
divine nrissToir: In rli, lii. 1 1 ff. it is thu icUgious aspect o^ t"Eem 
that is mainly dwelt upoij : tlieir value in the sight of God, and 
their efficacy for the salvation of men. — The view, therefore, that |i 
the pro phet here speaks in his own name cannot be maintained,// ^^ 
altho ugTi It IS no doubt the one that woul d be most readily'* 
suggested If tile verses stood alone. The further question 
whether the Servant be the ideal Israel must be considered with 
due re.gard to the other places where the same idea is presented 
(see Appendix, Note II). Here two remarks will suffice, (i) The 
figure of the Servant is indiv iduali sed in a higher degree than in 
the two previous poemsT^iid contamsTeafufes wliich cannot be 
applied~in cletail to a cqmmuiiity. It seems almost necessary 
to siippbse that the experience of some actual prophet and martyr 
(such as Jeremiah) lies behind the representation, and has been 
transferred to the picture of the ideal Servant. (2) The con- 
ception cannot without difficulty be applied to IsraeLas a ivhole 
and^ts sufferings from other nations. We have seen from 
ch. xlix. 6, 7 that the Servant has two spheres of activity, one 
within Israel, and the other directed to the world at large ; and 
it is most natural to hold that the persecutions referred to belong 
to the narrower sphere, representing the experience of the godly 
minority in whom the true ideal of Israel was partly realised, in 
conflict with their unregenerate fellow countrymen. 

The metrical scheme is somewhat obscure, and is in. any case 
dift'erent from tIralroTtrhe two l|tfli'efrServant-po©ms. So far as 
rhythlnic lines can be discovered they are of the elegiac type 
(pentam.eters) ; but it is only by forced expedients and dubious 
emendations that the whole can be reduced to this type. A 
'division_iiitO- three four-liHed straphes _ (Duhm and others), is 
still less obvious. How far the irregularities are due to textual 
confusion, and how far to licence of form, it is impossible to say. 

4, 5. The relation of the Ser\'ant to Jehovah is that of a 
disciple to his master; from Him he had learned the art of 
persuasive and consoling speech, and to Him he daily looks for 
the substance of his message. Comp. xhx. 2 (the Servant's 
endowment with prophetic eloquence), and xlii. 3 (the gentleness 
of his ministry). 

4. the tongue of them that are taught] Lit. a disciples' (plu.) tongue 


114 ISAIAH L. 4, 5 

tluit are taufiht, that I should know how ^to sustain 
with words liini that is wcaiy: he wakeneth morninj; 
by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as ^they tliat 
5 are taught. Tlie Lord God hath opened mine ear, and 
I was not rebelUous, neither turned awaj^ backward. 

^ Or, to speak a word in season to him &-c. ^ Or, disciples 

(see marg. and cf. viii. i6), perhap.s a trained or practised tongue. 
The use of the phi. is strange, botli here and at the end of the 
verse. Tlie jtres s laid o n the divine education of th e Servant 
is connected wit h the fact that hi.s ministry of consola tion was 
ahii ost a new d epartuie in pro ]:)iiecy. in tiie iiands of ilie earUcr 
pro})hets tlicTvord of Jehovah had been like a hammer breaking 
the rock in pieces (Jer. xxiii. 29) rather than a dew reviving the 
spirit of the humble. 

that I should know... weary] A difficult clause. The verb 
rendered "sustain" {'itth) is unknown in Hebrew. The A.V 
and K.V. marg. ("s])eak a word in season"), following Jewish 
interpreters, take it to be a denominative from the word for 
"time" {'cth), but that is an impossible etymology. The TXX. 
gives a similar sense (tov yfuivai ijviKa del (iTnl.v \oyov) but based 
on a different text. Of the traditional interpretations the most 
suitable is perhajxs that of the \'ulg. and Aquila (wliicb is followed 
by the R.V.) : that I Should know how to sustain the weary with 
a word. Modern authorities who adopt this rendering support 
it by an Arabic verb meaning "to help," which however is not 
an exact philological equivalent. Another Arabic analogy has 
suggested the translation "water" (i.e. "refresh"). An emen- 
dation by Gratz (n!!?*? for mi?7) gives the rendering "to answer," 
which is approved by several coinmentators. It is impossible 
to get beyond conjecture, although the general sense is clear. 

him.. '.weary'] The question occurs wi:ether this denotes the 
heathen peoples, dissatisfied with false religion (see on xlii. 3), or 
anxious and despondent minds in Israel. The latter seems the 
more appropriate reference in this connexion (cf. v 10). 

he wakeneth morning by morning] (cf. xxviii. 19). A much 
better sentence results if we omit with Cheyne the first word of" 
the Heb. (or with Duhm the first two words) as an uncorrected 
slip of a copyist, reading the adverliial expression with the 
following verb ; thus : " morning by morning (or "in the morning") 
he," wakeneth my ear to hear," etc. 

as they that are taught] after the manner of disciples. 

5. hath opened mine ear] The phrase used of the imparting 
of a prophetic communication in i Sam. ix. 15 (cf. Ps. xl. 6, 
different verbs). 

and I was not rebellions etc.] Comp. Jonah i. 3 and Jer. xx. 9. 

ISAIAH L. 6—9 115 

I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them 6 
that plucked off the hair : I hid not my face from shame 
and spitting. For the Lord God will help me ; therefore 7 
have I not been confounded: therefore have I set my 
face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. 
He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with 8 
me? let us stand up together: who is mine adversary? 
let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord God will 9 
help me; who is he that shall condemn me? behold, 
they all shall wax old as a garment ; the moth shall 
eat them up. 

The character and history of Jeremiah seem to have contributed 
many traits to the portrait of the "Servant of Jehovah." See 
on f. 9 below. 

6. That persecutions were to be incurred in the performance 
of his work is already indicated in the last words of z;. 5 ; now 
the speaker declares his voluntary acquiescence in the hardships 
of his lot. 

I gave my hack to the smiters] In Ps. cxxix. 3 the same figure is 
applied to the sufferings of Israel as a nation. 

to them that plucked off the hair] of the beard (cf. Ezra ix. 3 ; 
Neh. xiii. 25); an extreme insult to an Oriental, to whom the 
beard is the symbol of dignity (see on ch. vii. 20). 

from shame and. spitting] Num. xii. 14 ; Deut. xxv. 9 ; Matt. 
xx\-i. 67, xxvii. 30. 

7. The verse is better rendered thus : But the Lord Jehovah 
helps me, therefore I was not ashamed (i.e. felt no shame) ; there- 
fore I made my face like flint (figure for determination, cf. 
Ez. iii. 9), and knew that I should not be put to shame. For 
the thought cf. ch. xlii. 4. 

8. 9. The consciousness of innocence is expressed (as often in 
the book of Job) under the conception of a legal process. ''%; 

8. He is near that justifieth me] Cf. ch. xlix. 4 (" my judgement 
is with Jehovah"), li. 5. To "justify" is, as nearly always, to 
declare in the right ; so " condemn " in v. 9 is to pronounce in the 

who will contend with me ?] Cf. Job xiii. 19. 
stand up together] stand forth together (as xlvii. 12, 13). 
who is mine adversary ?] Lit. ' ' the master of my cause " (dominus 
litis). A similar expression is used in Ex. xxiv. 14. 

9. 7vho is he that shall condemn me P] Comp. Rom. viii. 33 f. 
wax old (better, be worn out) as a garment ; the moth etc.] 

Common images of gradual but inevitable destruction (cf. ch. 
li. 6, 8; Ps. xxxix. 11, cii. 26; Job xiii. 28, etc.). 

Two striking parallels to the latter part of this discourse occur 

Ii6 ISAIAH I.. lo, II 

10 Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeycth 
tlie voice of his servant? ^hc that walketli in darkness, 
and hath no hglit, let him trust in the name of the Lord, 

1 1 and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a lire, 
that gird yourselves about with firebrands: walk ye in 
the flame of your fire, and among the brands that ye 
have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand ; ye 
shall lie down in sorrow. 

' Or, though he walketh 

in the book ot Jeremiah. See ch. xvii. 17 f. : "Thou art my 
refuge in the day of evil. Let them be asham.ed that persecute 
me, but let not me be ashamed... bring upon them the day of 
evil, and destroy them with double destruction": and xx. 7, 
II fif. : "I am become a laughing-stock all the day, every one 
mocketh me...." "But the Lord is with me as a mighty one 
and a terrible ; therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they 
shall not prevail; they shall be greatly ashamed," etc. Cf. also 
Ps. xxii. & — 21. 

10. An exhortation to pious Israelites to imitate the Servant's 
faith in God, and his serene confidence in ultimate victory. It 
is spoken by the prophet in his own name, and is obviously 
based on the soliloquy of the Servant in vv. 4 — 9. 

that oheyeth the voice of his servant] (lit. "that hearkeneth to," 
etc.). The LXX. reads "let him hearken," which gives a better 
balanced verse and a more satisfying sense : Whoso among you 
feareth Jehovah, let him hearken, etc. 

he that walketh'] commencing a new sentence. 

.in darkvess] Lit. "in dark places"; i.e. in trouble. 

let him trust etc.] Cf. ch. xxvi. 4 ; Hab. ii. 4. 

11. A threat against the ungodly. The speaker is now 
Jehovah ; and the verse, as was said above, is reasonably 
suspected of being a later interpolation. 

that gird yourselves about with firebrands] (cf. Prov. xxvi. 18). 
The verb "gird yourselves about" hardly suits the metaphor; 
hence it is better with many authorities to change niND into 
"•"I'X^, that set on fire (as xxvii. 11). "Fire" and "firebrands" 
are both images for the machinations of the ungodly party 
against the true ser^'ants of Jehovah (cf. Ps. vii. 13 ; Eph. vi. 16). 

walk ye into the flame of your fire etc.] Their mischievous 
designs shall recoil on themselves (Ps. vii. 15 f.). 

7 his shall ye have of mine hand] Better : from my hand is this 
(appointed) for you. 

ye shall lie down in .'torrow] perhaps : in the place of torment ; 
see on ch. Lxvi. 24. 


Ch. LI. 1 — 16. Encouragements addressed to true 

The strain of consolation, which was interrupted by the 
sohloquy of the Servant at ch. 1. 4, is now resumed, and is con- 
tinued till we reach the fourth and last of the Servant-passages, 
l ii. i^^liii. 12. Throughout this long passage (li. i — lii. 12) the 
pTopiiefs thoughts are occupied with the near prospect of 
deliverance, and his hi gh-stru n g emot ion .fi nds vent in a, series 
of sli ort in Tpassioned_ora.cles,-xnQS±ly-£>-f- a lyrical c haracter . These 
may be divided into two groups, each consisting of three oracles. 
While those of the second group (li. 17- -lii. 12) are addressed to 
the prostrate^ and desolate Zion, the first (li. i — 16) contains 
words of cheer to the faithful but timid hearts in whom the 
prophet's message had found an entrance. This section shews 
points of contact with the preceding descriptions of the Servant, 
and the line of thought was probably influenced by the last of 
these, in 1. 4 — 9. The contents of the section are as follows : 

i. vv. I — 8. A glowing and animated appeal to the believing 
exiles to put away the fears and misgivings which liinder their 
full acceptance of the promise of salvation. The thrice-repeated 
"Hearken to me" (see, however, on v. 4) indicates a division into 
three strophes, (i) T he first draws a lesson of encouragement 
fr £Lm the example of the solitary patriarch Abraham, who by the 
bl essing ot lenovan became the progenitor o f a greaL Jiation. 
Let the true-hearted believers, therefore, take courage, in spite 
of the fewness of their number, for the same blessing rests on 
them, and will transform the waste places of Zion into a scene 
of jnv nnd gladness {vv . i — 3). (2) Tlie next strophe directs the 
lidpc I'f llii' li)\,il I - iMciiif-^ t(i ilir yl'iriiiu^ future belongs" to 
thosi,- w !iii wm'x. fur jl1iu\ ah';; sal\ jtion : thmigli lu'a\fn and earth 
pass away that world-wide salvation is imperishable and eternal 
{vv. 4 — 6). (3) T he las t stro_ph£^_re-echoing one of the voices of 
th e Prologue (x l. 6^8). reminds the exiles tliatlhe reproach tliey 
feari^sJLat^^of frail and _shortrlived mortals, .while the salvation 
theyJiO]2e_for endures for &\erjvv. 7, 8). 

ii. vv. 9, 10. Here for a moment the prophetic discourse is 
interrupted by a magnificent anostronhe to the "arm" o f 
Jehovah. The speakers are most probably those to whom the 
previous words were addressed. As if all their doubts had been 
swept away by the impressive appeals to which they have 
listened, their impatience breaks forth in this impetuous challenge 
to Jehovah to reveal His power as in the days of old. (v. \i has 
been inserted from ch. xxxv. 10.) 

iii. vv. 12 — 16. The divine voice is again heard (in answer 
to the people's prayer). Since their comforter is Jehovah Him- 
self, the Creator of heaven and earth, how unreasonable is their 
craven fear of their cruel oppressors! {vv. 12, 13). Towards the 
close, however, the connexion becomes very obscure (see the notes). 

Ii8 ISAIAH LI. T— 3 

51 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye 
that seek the Lord : look unto the rock whence ye were 
hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye were digged. 

2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that 
bare you: for when he was but one I called him, and 

3 I blessed him, and made him many. For the Lord hath 
comforted Zion : he hath comforted all her waste places, 
and hath made her wilderness like Eden, and her desert 
like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be 
found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. 

1 — 3. The opening exhortation alludes to a difficulty naturally 
arising in the minds of believing exiles, viz. that they were too 
few in number to inherit the glorious promises made to them. 
This is removed by pointing to the marvellous increase of the 
nation from a single patriarchal family. There is a curious 
coincidence between this passage and Ezek. xxxiii. 24, where 
a parallel line of reasoning, on the part of the ungodly remnant 
left in the land .of Canaan, is denounced by the prophet as impious. 
The history of Abraham and the religious lessons to be drawn 
from it must have been familiar in the age of the Captivity. 

1. ye that follow after righteousness] Strictly, pursue (as Deut. 
xvi. 20; Prov. XV. 9, xxi. 21). "Righteousness" here means 
righteousness in conduct, a way of life in accordance with the 
will of God (as v. 7) ; cf. Rom. ix. 30 f. Commentators generally 
understand it. in accordance with vv. 5, 6, 8, as equivalent to 
"salvation"; but man cannot be said to "pursue" that which 
God alone "brings near" (xlvi. 13). 

look unto the rock etc.] The ancestors of the nation are com- 
pared to a quarry, the Israelites to the stones hewn from it, — 
a p pfiiliar imape found nowhere else. The word for hole does 
not occur agam in the U. i . (and that for "pit" is probably an 
explanatory gloss upon it) ; but a noun from the same root is 
found in the first line of the Siloam Inscription with the sense of 
"perforation" or "excavation." 

2. The explanation of the figure. 

blessed him, and made him many] Cf. Gen. xii. 2, 3, xxii. 17. 
The strict rendering of the Massoretic text would be " that I might 
bless," etc. ; but the verbs should no doubt be pointed as consec. 
impfs. Without completing the analogy, the prophet proceeds 
at once in the next verse to comfort the spiritual children of 
Abraham with the assurance of the restoration of Zion. 

3. hath comforted... hath made] Perfs. of certaint}'. 

like the garden ojL/^e_Lw?^4»^^]j,^gji,,i^.tt ot-Ezek. xxviii. 13, 
xxxi. 8 f . 
joy and gladness etc.] Cf. xxxv. 10; Jer. xxxiii. 11. 

ISAIAH LI. 4—6 119 

Attend unto me, O my people ; and give ear unto me, 4 
my nation : for a law shall go forth from me, and I 
will make nw judgement to rest for a light of the peoples. 
My righteousness is near, mj^ salvation is gone forth, 5 
and mine arms shall judge the peoples; the isles shall 
wait for me, and on mine arm shall they trust. Lift up 6 
your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath : 

4 — 6. The yniversal extension of the true religion is the second 
ground of comfort which the prophet is commissioned to offer to 
his fellow-behevers. The language of vv. 4, 5 is obviously moulded 
on that of ch. xlii. i — 4 ; the functions there assigned to the 
Servant of the Lord are liere assumed by Jehovah Himself. At 
the same time the thought is implied that the restored Israel is 
to be the bearer of salvation to the world at large, and thus the 
further idea is suggested that the ideal represented by the Servant 
will be realised by the people of Israel when it emerges purified 
from the discipline of the Captivitj'. 

4. Attend unto' me] The verb is different from that used in 
vv. I and 7. For my people and my nation, we may read with 
Pesh. and some MSS., "peoples" and "nations." 

a law shall go forth from me] See ch. ii. 3 ("for out of Zion 
shall go forth Tordh"). For a law (tordh) read, as usual, revela-. 
tion. The word judgement in the next line is probably to be 
rendered "religion" as in xlii. i, 3, 4 (see on xlii. i). 

make... to rest] The verb used has three meanings in the 
O.T. : [a) "to cause to rest" (Jer. xxxi. 2) or "be at rest" (ch. 
xxxiv. 14), {b) "to set in commotion" (Jer. 1. 34, see on v. 15 
below), and (c) "to do a thing in the twinkling of an eye" (Jer. 
xlix. 19). Of these (a) is alone possible in the present connexion, 
though hardly suitable; the sense "establish," given by some 
critics, seems to have no sufficient support. By the«LXX. the 
word is taken with v. 5, and in the sense (c), and this suggests the 
true reading, although it requires a slight modification of the 
following word. The construction would be the same as in 
Jer. xlix. 19, and the rendering "Suddenly I bring near my 
rigliteousness." The word is at all events superfluous in v. 4, 
the last clause of which reads simply : and my judgement for 
a light of the peoples (cf. xlix. 6). 

5. My righteousness is near] Read 3npX for Dllp. See the 
last note and cf. ch. xlvi. 13. 

the isles shall wait for me] Cf. xlii. 4. 

on mine arm] i.e. "on my power" (xxxiii. 2). 

6. From the thought of the universality of religion the 
prophet rises to that of its eternitv, which is here expressed by 
a contrast of surprising bUUlill'b*) l^LW^eii [he "things which are 
seen" and the "things which are not seen." The whole visible 

I20 ISAIAH LJ. <>— 8 

for the heavens shall xaiiisli away like smoke, and the 
earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that (hvcll 
therein shall die "*in like manner: but my salvation shall 
be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. 

7 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the 
people in whose heart is my law ; fear ye not the reproach 

8 of men, neither be ye dismayed at their revilings. For 
the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the 

* Or, perhaps, like gnats 

creation, the lie avens above and tlie earth b eneath, are transitory, 
h ilt Jeho\-nh's salvation end ures for ever. 

the heavens shall vanish away (ht. "be torn to tatters") like 
smoke'] To feel the force of the metaphor we must bear in mind 
the ancient conception of the "firmament" as a solid vault 
overarching the earth. The word for "vanish away" is con- 
nected with the noun rendered "rotten rags" in Jer. xxxviii. ii f. 

wax old like a garment] See on ch. 1. 9, from which the ex- 
pression is taken. Cf. also Ps. cii. 26. 

shall die in like manner] Rather, as marg., shall die like gnats. 
The word ken does not occur e ^gp^y^'^''^' '" ^'''^' rnnno unless Num. 
xiii. 33 be an insta nce, which is doubtfu l. It might be a collective 
noun corresponding to the iem. kumdh (noun o f unity = a single 
gnat), found in Talmudic Hebrew. Several commentators, how- 
ever, think it necessary to read kinnini (also a collective), a word 
used in Ex. viii. 16 — 18 of the "lice" of Egypt. The ancient 
versions and the Jewish interpreters explain as E.V., taking ken 
to be the common particle "so." The clause is metrically 
superfluous, and is probably to be deleted as the gloss of some 
unthinking reader (so Ehrlich), in which case the traditional 
rendering may be kept. 

salvation and righteousness are practically synonymous, as often. 

7, 8. In the hope of this everlasting salvation the true Israelites 
may well endure for a season the reproach of men. 

7. To know righteousness does not differ in meaning from 
"follow after righteousness" in v. i. Both expressions refer to 
righteousness in the ethical sense ; there it is represented as an 
ideal steadily pursued, here as a rule of life apprehended by the 
heart and conscience. This inward possession of righteousness 
is the earnest of the external righteousness, the vindication of 
right, spoken of in ff . 6 and 8. (See on hi. i.) 

the people in whose heart is my revelation] Cf. Jer. xxxi. 33. 

8. For the moih etc.] See again ch. I. 9 ; another indication 
that the Servian t is the type of the true Israel, and hence an 
example to individual Israelites. 

ISAIAH LI. 8, 9 ' 121 

wonn shall eat them like wool : but my righteousness 
shall be for ever, and my salvation unto all generations. 

Awake, awake, put on strength, ami of the Lord ; 9 
awake, as in the days of old, the generations of ancient 
times. Art thou not it that cut Rahab in pieces, that 

The word rendered "worm" (sds, cf. the Greek ai)s) means 
strictly 'moth" of which there are many species in Palestine 
(see Post in Hastings' Diet, of the Bible, iii. p. 451). Although 
common in Semitic, it is found only here in Heb. 

9, 10. These verses are addressed to Jehovah, either by the 
prophet himself, or by the community of true Israelites. It is 
difficult to decide between these two views, but the dramatic 
unity of the passage is best preser\'ed if we adopt the latter, 
taking vv. 9, 10 as a prayer called forth by the previous exhorta- 
tion, and vv. 12 ft. as the divine answer to this prayer. 

The imagery of the verses is obviously mythological. It rests 
on the conception of a conflict in days long past between Jehovah 
and the monsters called Rahab and the Dragon. Now both these 
names came to be used as symbols of Egypt (see on ch. xxx. 7, 
and xxvii. i); and most commentators have thought that this is 
the case here, the historic reference being to the humiliation of 
Egypt, and the dividing of the Red Sea in the days of Moses. 
But it is doubtful if this interpretation exhausts the significance 
of the passage. The prophet seems to make direct use of current 
mythological representations, as is frequently done by the author 
of the book of Job (see the notes on iii. 8, ix. 13, xxvi. 13 in 
Davidson's Book of Job). And if this be so there cannot be much 
doubt as to the nature of the myth in question. It is probably 
a Hebrew variation of the Babj-lonian creation-hymn, according 
to which the creation of the world was preceded by a conflict 
between the Cod of light and order and the monsters that 
symbolise the dark powers of Chaos (so Duhm ; see also Gunkel, 
Schopfung und Chaos, pp. 30 ff.). The fundamental idea of the 
verses would therefore seem to lie in the analogy between the 
original creation of the material world, and the restoration of 
the moral order of the universe, which has been disturbed by the 
reign of brute force in the Babylonian Empire (cf. v. 16). At the 
same time, the undoubted allusion to the Exodus in 10 b shews 
that the historical application of the imagery was present to the 
mind of the proj^Jiet (see below). 

9. put on strength'] Lit. "clothe thyself with strength," as 
Ps. xciii. I. 

The arm of the Loi;i> is apostrophised, as the symbol of His 
might, possibly with a reference back to y. 5. 

that cut Rahab in pieces] The verb "cut in pieces" commonly 
means "hewed out." Many commentators (since Houbigant) 

122 ISAIAH LI. 9— II 

10 pierced tlie dragon? Art thou not it which dried up the 
sea, the waters of the great deep ; that made the depths 

11 of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over? And 
the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come with 
singing unto Zion ; and everlasting joy shall be upon 
their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and 
sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 

read "shattered" (nVPID for n3\*n?3) after Job xxvi. 12. The 
emendation is not necessary (see Hos. vi. 5), although it is true 
that neither the Piel nor (as here) Hiph. formation occurs. Rahah 
is the sea-monster (ch. xxx. 7); and the "dragon" (tanntn) prob- 
ably one of the "helpers of Rahab" (Job ix. 13); both together 
represent the chaotic elements from whose dominion the habitable 
world had to be recovered ; hence the line expresses poetically 
the same thought as the following "Art thou not it which dried 
up the sea, etc.?" The original mythical emblem sur\'ives in 
one of the most beautiful personifications of O.T. poetry, the 
comparison of the sea to a restless, unruly creature, waging 
impotent war with heaven, and seeking to devour the land, 
but a creature whom Jehovah holds completely in His power, 
now stirring it to fury (see v. 15) by His rebuke, and again stilling 
its commotions. 

10. the great deep] (Gen. vii. 11; Am. vii. 4; Ps. xxxvi. 6) is 
the primeval ocean of Gen. i. 2, out of which the dry land appeared. 
The Hebrew (iehom) is connected etymologically with Ti'dmat, the 
name of the Chaos-monster in the Babylonian creation tablets. 

a way for the redeemed to pass over] The reference to the 
Exodus is here unmistakeable. The transition is explained by 
the fact that everv^ exhibition of Jehovah's power over the sea 
was regarded as a repetition on a smaller scale of the original 
miracle of creation. Both alike are illustrations of what the 
" arm of the Lord " can do, and of the great miracle of redemption 
to which the prophet looks forward. 

11. The verse is almost verbally identical wdth xxxv. 10, 
which is clearly its original setting. Here its connexion with 
what precedes~Ts loose, and since ch. xxxv. is of more recent date 
than this~"prophecy, the verse must have been transferred by a 
copyist. Its insertion was obviously suggested by the "way for 
the redeemed" in v. 10, recalling the imagery pf xxxv. 8, q. 

12 — 16. Jehovah again speaks as the comforter of His people. 
That the passage is a direct answer to the importunate appeal of 
vv. g f., .seems probable, although it cannot be confidently 
affirmed ; it is at all events virtually an answer. A point of 
contact might be found in Jehovah's assertion of His power over 
the sea in v. 15; but the connexion of ideas in the last three 

ISAIAH LI. 12—14 123 

I, even i, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, 12 
that thou art afraid of man that shall die, and of the son 
of man which shall be made as grass ; and hast forgotten 13 
the Lord thj^ Maker, that stretched forth the heavens, 
and laid the foundations of the earth ; and fearest con- 
tinuall}^ all the day because of the fury of the oppressor, 
^when he maketh ready to destroy? and where is the 
fury of the oppressor? ^j^g captive exile shall speedily 14 
be loosed ; and he shall not die and go down into the pit, 

^ Or, as fhough he made ready ^ Or, He that is bent doivn 

verses is difficult to make out, and the text itself probably 

12, 13. An expostulation with the exiles, who having the 
Almighty Creator for their God, live in constant terror of being 
destroyed b}-- their oppressors. 

~12. I, even I, am he that comforteth yon^ Cf. xl. i, xlix. 13. 
The Israelites are here addressed as individuals ; this gives place 
immediately to the feminine collective. Who art thou etc. ? and 
this again in v. 13 to the masc. sing. This is undoubtedly 
awkward, and the form of the rhetorical question is very peculiar ; 
but conjectural textual correction is too precarious to be in- 
dulged in. The question must mean "How is it that thou 
fearest, etc.?" (on the use of the consec. impf. see Davidson's 
Syntax, § 51, R. 3). For made^as grass we may translate "given 
up (to destruction) as grass" (cf. ch. xl. 6). 

13, and hast forgotten the Lord] Not in the sense of aposta- 
tising from Him (as ch. xvii. 10 and often), but of failing to 
realise His omnipotence as the Creator of all things (see cfi. 
xlix. 14). 

that stretched forth the heavens etc.] Cf. xl. 22, xlii. 5, xliv. 24, 
xlv. 12. It might be better to read "that planteth" (yOlJ): 
see on v. 16. 

when he maketh ready to destroy] Lit. "aims (his arrow) to de- 
stroy," the verb being used technically of an archer directing his 
arrow; so Ps. xxi. 13, cf. Ps. vii. 13, xi. 2. 

and where is the fury of the oppressor ?] Cf. ch. xxxiii. 18. The 
question gives a weak ending to the verse, and indeed both in this 
clause and the preceding the soundness of the text is doubtful. 

14, This verse is hopelessly unintelligible. What can be 
made of the Heb. text may be gathered from R.V. and marg 
The LXX. gives what i s obviously a conjectural rend ering, and 
it is not tinlikely that the Heb. represents another attempt to 
restore qn illegible text. It is not worth while to attempt an 
analysis here. After v. 13, we should have expected a threat 

124 ISAIAH LI. 14—16 

15 neither shall his bread fail. For I am the-LoKD thy 
God, which ^stirreth up the sea, that the waves thereof 

16 roar: the Lord of hosts is his name. And I have put 
my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the 
shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, 
and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto 
Zion, Thou art my people. 

^ Or, stillcth the sea, when the waves thereof roar 

against the " oppressor " ; but no glimmer of light in this direction 
can be discovered. 

15, 16. These verses contain a remarkable number of resem- 
blances to other passages (see below), v. 15, apart from the 
introductory words, occurs in Jer. xxxi. 35, though it is doubtful 
to which passage it originally belongs. Giesebrecht (on Jeremiah) 
unhesitatingly pronounces it a citation from this verse; Duhm 
and Cornill consider it to be secondary in both places. 

15. which stirreth up (see on v. 4) iJie sea, thai the waves 
thereof roar] Cf. Job xxvi. 12. 

The idea is para llel with that of vv. o f. , being an illustration 
of Jehovah 's power ov er the elements He can, as it were, 
play with tliF.sea, lor His .stirring it up to furv implies that He 
is able to reslram it, and at the right time tf) still it again. 

the Loan of ho^ts is his name] Ch. xlvii. 4, xlviii. 2, liv. 5. 

16. I have put my words in thy mouth] Recurring in ch. lix. 21. 
covered thee in the shadow) of min^e hand] Taken almost exactly 

from xlix. 2. 

that I may plant etc.] This is no doubt the right translation, 
not "that thou mayest plant" (lit. "to plant"). The metaphor 
of "planting" the heavens is unique; some critics substitute 
"to stretch forth" (changing a letter), as in v. 13, with which 
likewise the following words correspond. But ndta' may meaj 
"establish" (2 Sam. vii. 10; Am. ix. 15); and in this sense it is 
a better parallel to "found" than is "stretch forth." The 
reference is to the new heavens and earth (Ixv. 17, Ixvi. 22). 
The conception of a new moral universe about to be created is 
partly anticipated both in v. 6 (whe're the transitoriness of the 
present world is a.sserted), and in wz^. o f. (see the notes above). 
This verse, however, adds the further idea that the new creation 
is the ultimate goal of God's dealings with Israel, whose religious 
mission culminates in a universal and everlasting salvation. 

and say unto Zion etc.] The subject is still Jehovah, not the 
person addressed. 'Amar usually (and le'mor always) introduces 
the direct speech ; and the following words are certainly those of 

But who is the person addressed? The question is important 


foi ^its bearing on t he idea of the Servant of the L ord, v. 16, 
where ^it stands is obviously addressed to Israel ; and the remark- 
able thing is that language elsewhere used of the Servant is here 
applied to the people. This wou4d be a strong confirmation of 
the tlieorv that throughout tlie prophecy the Servant is in .s mrip 
se nse a personification of Isra el. That conclusion is naturally 
resisted by those critics who hold that the Servant-poems refer 
to an individual. They point to the difficulty (which does not 
seem insurmountable, however) of applying to the people the 
clause "I haveput my wnrd sJn thy mouth"; and they are led 
to maintain that the verse (if genuine at all) is either a fragment 
of a lost Servant-poem (Sellin), or ha ^ strayed f rom Jts^^roper 
co ntext between vv. ^ and 4 of ch. xlix. (van Hoona cker, in 
Expositor, March, igib, p. 190). buch solutions are arbitrary 
and _unsati .sfying : the, verb al resemblance to xlix. i ff. mak es it 
im probable that the verse Ijelonged origmallv to that pnem. o r to 
a nother in the same cyc le! Unless we are to follow Duh m and 
othe rs who reject this verse entirely, we seem shut up to tn e 
admi ssion that the Second Isaiah identified the Servant of th e 

Ch. LI. 17 — LII. 12. The Lord will turn the 
Captivity of Zion. 

The three oracles into which this passage naturally falls are 
these : 

(i) vv. 17 — 23. The prophet, returning to the thought with 
which the book opens (ch. xl. 2), announces that the period of 
Jerusalem's degradation has expired. The city is figured as a 
woman lying prostrate and senseless, intoxicated with the cup 
of the Lord's indignation which she has drunk to the dregs, her 
sons unable to help her (17 — 20). But the cup is now taken from 
her and passed to the enemies who had oppressed and insulted 
her (21 — 23). 

(2) lii. I — -6. In a new apostrophe, the image is carried on; 
let Zion lay aside her soiled raiment, and the emblems of her 
slavery, and put on her holiday attire (i, 2). Jehovah will no 
longer endure that His name should be blasphemed through the 
banishment of His people (3 — 6). 

(3) vv. 7 — 12. A description of the triumphal return of 
Jehovah to Zion, obviously based on the last section of the 
Prologue (ch. xl. g — 11). "The writer pictures the scene of joy 
within the city when the heralds of the I^ing arrive (7, 8); he 
calls on the waste places of Jerusalem to break forth into singing 
(9, 10); and finally, turning to the exiles (as in xlviii. 20 f.) he 
summons them to hasten their escape from the land of their 
captivity (11, 12). 

17 — 20. The forlorn plight of Jerusalem. The rhythm is that 
of the ktnah, and the resemblances to the book of Lamentations 

126 ISAIAH LI. 17—19 

17 Awake, awake, stand up, () Jerusalem, which hast 
drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury ; thou 
hast drunken the bowl of the cup of staggering, and 

iS drained it. There is none to guide her among all the 
sons whom she hath brought forth ; neither is there any 
that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she 

19 hath brought up. These two things are befallen thee; 
who shall bemoan thee? desolation and destruction, and 
the famine and the sword; how shall 1 comfort thee? 

are so striking that Ewald has conjectured that the passage is 
taken from one of the elegies composed during the Exile. 

17. Awake] Better: Arouse thee (Cheyne) ; the verb being a 
reflexive as distinct from the simple "Awake" of hi. i (and li. 9). 

ivhich hast drunk... the cup of his fury] The image of the cup 
of the divine wrath originated in Jeremiah's great vision of 
judgement (ch. xxv. 15 if.), where the prophet hands the cup to 
all nations, beginning with Jerusalem. Cf. also Jer. xlix. 12; 
Hab. ii. 16; Ezek. xxiii. 31 — 34; Lam. iv. 21; Obad. 16; 
Rev. xiv. ID. 

the bowl of the cup of staggering] The word for bowl (kubba'ath), 
found only here and in v. 22, seems to be a Babjdonian term which 
was unfamiliar to the later Jews. Hence the pleonasm "bowl 
of the cup," which has arisen through the common word for cup 
{kos) being ^dded as an explanatory gloss. 

of staggering] of intoxication. Ps. Ix. 3 (the only other occur- 

and drained] (cf. Ezek. xxiii. 34) — an asyndetic construction 
in the Heb. — "hast drunk, hast drained,"- i.e. "hast drunk to 
the dregs." The whole clause reads: 

Thou who hast drunk from Jehovah's hand — the cup of His wrath, 
The chalice of intoxication — hast drunk to the dregs. 

19. These two things] (ch. xlvii. 9), i.e. two kinds of calamities; 
namely, devastation and destruction on land and city; famine 
and sword on the inliabitants. 

who shall bemoan thee] who condoles with thee (Jer. xv. 5; 
Nah. iii. 7), i.e. "thou hast no sympathisers." To "condole" 
is in Heb. to shake the head (cf. Jer. xvi. 5; Job ii. 11, xUi. 11, 
etc.); a similar gesture, expressed by a different verb, denotes 
contempt (see on ch. xxxvii. 22). 

how (lit. who) shall I comfort thee ?] The idiom cannot be 
reproduced exactly; see Am. vii. 2, 5 and comp. Davidson's 
Synt. § 8, R. I (where it is suggested that the peculiar use of the 
pronoun may be provincial or colloquial). The ancient \ersions, 
however, read the third person, which is ccrtainlj' easier and 
perhaps for that reason suspicious : "who comforts thee? " 

ISAIAH LI. 20 — 23 127 

Thy sons have fainted, they He at the top of ah the 20 
streets, as an antelope in a net ; they are full of the fury 
of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God. Therefore hear 21 
now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine : 
thus saith thy Lord the Lord, and thy God that pleadeth 22 
the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine 
hand the cup of staggering, even the bowl of the cup of 
my fury ; thou shalt no more drink it again : and I will 23 
put it into the hand of them that afflict thee ; which 
have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: 

20. Thy sons have swooned] Lit. "were shrouded,"- — a usual 
Oriental metaphor (Am. viii. 13; Jon. iv. 8; Nah. iii. 11). For 
the idea cf. Lam. ij. 11, 19,21. at the top of all the streets] Lam. 
ii. 19, iv. I. The metre here is overloaded ; and these words may 
be a marginal citation from Lam. 

as an antelope (Deut. xiv. 5) in a net] exhausted by its vain 
struggles to get free, — a graphic figure. 

full of the fury etc.] The children have drunk of the same cup 
as their mother. 

21 — 23. Jerusalem's restoration. 

21. hear vow this] See ch. xlvii. 8. 
drunken, hut not with wine] Cf. ch. xxix. 9. 

22. thy Lord the Loud] thy Lord Jehovah. It is in cases like 
this that we are made to feel the inconvenience arising from the 
Jewish reluctance to pronounce the sacred Name Yahveh. But 
the combination is not biblical and possibly "Jehovah" should 
be omitted, taking "thy God" with the first half-line. 

/ have takpn] Better: I take (a perf. of instant action, as 
I Sam. ii. 16). 

the cup of sta,£;,s:ering. . .fury] the cup of intoxication, the chalice 
of mine indignation (see on v. 17). To restore the rhythm of the 
Heb. the order of the last two lines of the verse should be reversed : 

"No more again shalt thou drink [it] — the chalice of my 

23. them that affiict thee] thy tormentors. The word occurs 
three times in the Lamentations (i. 5, 12, iii. 32). There is no 
need to c hange it tn ']<iV' "thv nppressnrs," as in xlix. 26(Lowth 
and others). ' ^ " 

to thy sow/] i.e. "to thyself," while alive. 

Bow-down, that we may go over] The figure is taken from the 
Eastern custom of treading or even riding on the backs of con- 
quered enemies. Comp. Lane's account of the Mohammedan 
ceremony of the Dooseh or "Treading," as he witnessed it at 
Cairo in 1834; when the Sheikh of the Saadiyeh dervishes, 
mounted on horseback, rode over the prostrate bodies of a large 

128 ISAIAH LI. 2.5— Lll. 2 

and thou hast laid tliy back as the ground, and as the 
street, to them that go over. 
52 Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion ; put on 
tliy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: 
for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the 
2 uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the 
dust; arise, sit thee down, O Jerusalem: 'loose thyself 
from the bands of th}^ neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 

^ Another reading is, the bands of thy neck are loosed. 

number of dervishes. (See Manners and Customs of the Modern 
Egyptians, pp. 417 f., 432 f. [Ed. 1890].) 

and thou hast laid etc.] so that thou madest thy back as the 
earth. Gesenius cites in illustration an Arabic proverb: "To 
him who pleases me, I will be earth." 

lii. 1, 2. Here the prophet's imagination takes a higher 
flight. The cup of indignation having finally passed from her 
hands, Jerusalem is summoned to shake off her stupor, and array 
herself in garments befitting her dignity as the bride of Jehovah. 
The description is influenced by the contrast (evidently intentional) 
to the taunt-song on the "daughter of Babylon" (ch. xlvii. i ff.). 

1 . put OH thy strength'] Cf. ch. li. 9. thy strength here means, in 
parallelism with "thy beauty," "thy splendour" (Ps. Ixxviii. 61 ; 
Hab. iii. 4). 

the holy city] as ch. xlviii. 2. 

for... there shall no more come etc.] Note the correspondence 
with xlvii. I, 5. 

the uncircumcised and the unclean] i.e. not foreigners generally 
(as Joel iii. 17), as if the passage expressed the exclusiveness of 
later Judaism, but the "destroyers" and "wasters" who at 
present desecrate her soil; see on xlix. 17. Cf. Nah. i. 15; 
Zech. ix. 8. 

2. arise, sit thee down] The meaning might be, "arise from 
the dust, and sit on thy throne," — a contrast to xlvii. i. 

loose thyself .. .neck] Better, perhaps : loose for thee th3 bonds, 
etc. ; the reflexive verb having the same force as an ethical dative. 
The alternative rendering of marg. "the bands of thy neck are 
loosed " represents the Hebrew consonantal text. The Qere, 
however, is here supported by the ancient \ersions, and is un- 
doubtedly to be preferred. 

3 — 6. There is here a sudden change both in form and subject. 
The rhythmic structure of the preceding verses gives place to 
prose, and the figure of Jerusalem arising from the dust is 
altogether abandoned. Jehovah is represented as deliberating 
with Himself on the rehgious situation, so injurious to His honour, 

ISAIAH LII. 3—5 129 

For thus saith the Lord, Ye were sold for nought; 3 
and ye shall be redeemed without money. For thus 4 
saith the Lord God, My people went down at the first 
into Egypt to sojourn there : and the Assyrian oppressed 
them without cause. Now therefore, what do I here, 5 
saith the Lord, seeing that my people is taken away for 
nought? they that rule over them do howl, saith the 

brought about by the unprecedented calamities of His people 
{vv. 4, 5), and as resolving to end it by their deliverance (v. 6). 
It is doubtful if the passage was the original sequel to vv. i, 2: 
if indeed it be not an editorial insertion. 

3. Ye were solcT] See on ch. 1. i ; cf. Ps. xliv. 12. 
redeemed wiUiont money'] Cf. ch. xlv. 13. Jehovah gained 

nothing by delivering Israel into the hand of its enemies, and 
He asks nothing as the price of its redemption. 

4. at the first] at the outset of its history. 

without cause] i.e. probably, "for nought," without having 
acquired any right over Israel by services rendered to Jehovah : 
the meaning can hardly be that Israel suffered innocently. 
Ehrhch reads "in my anger" Odk2 for DDKH). The idea would 
then be that, as compared with Babylon, the offence of Assyria 
was extenuated by the fact that it was Jehovah's instrument 
(cf. X. 5) ; just as that of Egypt by the other fact that it was not 
guilty of deporting Israel from its own land. 

5. Now therefore] Rather : But now, accentuating the gravity 
of the present situation. Exile and oppression were indeed no 
new experiences for Israel (v. 4), but no such crime as this had 
ever before been committed against it. 

what do I here etc.] The sentence may be variously understood. 
The main idea obviously is that the state of things described in 
what follows is not to be endured, being inconsistent with the 
honour of Jehovah. The formula "What is there to me?" 
expresses a strong sense of incongruity between what is and what 
ought to be (see iii. 15, xxii. i, 16), and we may render either, 
"What am I about (xxii. i) here (in Babylonia)?" or, more 
generally, "What do I find here?" i.e.*in the existing position 
of affaii-s, as contrasted with the historic parallels in v. 4. The 
last is perhaps to be preferred. The meaning can hardly be, 
"What have I to do here (ch. xxii. 16) now that my people is 
taken away? " 

that my people is taken away] carried into captivity. The words 
for nought belong to the next clause. 

thev that rule over them do howF] Render: for nought are 
its (Israel's) rulers profaned, reading ■i'?^ni for lp''p\~l\ with 


I30 ISAIAH 1,11. 5—8 

Lord, and my name continuall\' all the day is blas- 

6 phemed. Therefore my people shall know my name : 
therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that 
doth speak; behold, ^it is I. 

7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of 
him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, 
that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth sal- 

S vation ; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth ! The 

' Or, here I am 

my name... is blasphemed] Lit. despised. (The form should 
probably be pointed as part. Pual.) The meaning is that the 
calamities of Israel were attributed by the heathen ~'to tlie impo- 
tence of its God, and thus the majesty of Jehovah was impaired 
— a thought frequently expressed by Ezekiel (see Ezek. xxxvi. 
2o, etc.). The words are cited in Rom. ii. 24. 

continually all the day^ as ch. li. 13. 

6. The contempt thus brought on His name is the crowning 
motive of Jehovah's interposition, — another point of affinity 
with Ezekiel (see xxxvi. 21). 

my people shall know my name] i.e. shall know by experience 
what My name imports; comp. "shall know that I am Jehovah," 
in Ezekiel (xx. 42, 44 and often). The second therefore, followed 
by no new verb, is both superfluous and difficult and should 
probably be omitted, with LXX. 

that I am he that doth speak; behold, it is I] The last words 
"behold me" are hardly to be taken as obj. of the verb "speak" ; 
they simply repeat the sense of the preceding clause: "They 
shall know that it is I who speak; here am I" (cf. Ezek. v. 13). 

7 — 12. The return of Jehovah to Zion. 

7 describes, in ^-ivid pictorial imager^' taken from ch. xl. 9, 
the arrival in Jerusalem of the first tidings of the deUverance 
from Babylon and the establishment of the kingdom of God. 
Part of the verse occurs in Nah. i. 15. 

Hovu beautiful] Cant. i. 10. 

of him that bringeth good tidings] The mebasser (see on xl. 9 
and cf. xh. 27) is one of the prophet's dramatis persnncp, occupying 
a position somewhat analogous to that of "the fugitive" in the 
Book of Ezekiel (xxiv. 26f.,xxxiii. 21 f.). He is the "evangeUst," 
the herald of salvation whose single function is to announce to 
Zion the speedy advent of her God. He is an ideal creation of 
the writer's mind, and the conception fluctuates between that 
of an individual (as here and xH. 27) and of a company (in xl. 9). 
In St Paul's appUcation of the figure (Rom. x. 15) it becomes a 
type of the gospel ministry. 

Thy God reigneth] Rather : Thy God hath become king, has 

ISAIAH LII. 8— lo 131 

voice of thy watchmen ! they lift up the voice, together 
do they sing; for they shall see, eye to eye, ^when the 
Lord returneth to Zion. Break forth into joy, sing 9 
together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord 
hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 
The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of 10 
all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see 

1 Or, how 

established His everlasting kingdom (cf. ch. xxiv. 23 ; Ps. xciii. i, 
xcvii. I, etc.). 

8. The voice of thy watchmen !...] Render : Hark, thy watch- 
men ! Although the prophets are often called "watchmen" 
(ch. Ivi. 10; Hab. ii. i; Jer. vi. 17; Ezek. xxxiii. 2 ff.) there is 
no reason to suppose that they are referred to here. Prophets 
are no longer required after the herald of salvation has arrived 
and Jehovah Himself is at hand. The word is used in its ordinary 
sense of the watchmen posted on the city walls, who are naturally 
represented as the first to see and annoiince the actual approach 
of the King. 

foy they shall see etc.] Rather : for eye to eye shall they look 
upon Jehovah's return to Zion. The expression eye to eye occurs 
only once again, in Num. xiv. 14, where Jehovah is said to be 
"seen eye to eye" in Israel (cf. Jer. xxxii. 4, "his eyes shall look 
on the eyes of Nebuchadnezzar"). It i s said to be used in the 
Talmud with a verb of weighing, in' tne sense of "exac tly" 
(Ehrlicn). ine idea nere may be similar; Jehovah shall be seen 
distinctly and clearly when He comes to Zion. The phrase 
certainly has not in Heb. the sense of harmony and unanimity 
which it has come to bear in English. But it can hardly mean 
merely that the watchmen shall form a dense throng, the eye 
of one spectator pressing close on his neighbour's ! That is a 
thought quite irrelevant in the context. 

9. Break forth into joy, sing] Render : Break forth into 
singing (lit. "Break forth, sing"). Cf. xliv. 23. 

the Lord hath comforted his people] li. 3. 

10. Here (if not already in v. 9) the prophet withdraws his 
gaze from the future, and describes Jehovah as preparing Himself 
for the conflict which leads to the joyous scene oi vv. 7 f. 

hath made bare his holy arm] throwing back the sleeveless upper 
garment from the right shoulder, in readiness for action : oe^Lov w/mv 
yv/xvbv ^xw f" '■?? Maxr? (Arrian, Alex. 5. 18, quoted by Dillmann). 
See the contrasted metaphor in Ps. Ixxiv. 11. his holy arm 

means "His divine arm" (Ps. xcviii. i). The "arm" of Jehovah, 
as ch. li. 9 (cf. also liii. i). 


132 ISAIAH Lll. 10—12 

the salvation of our God. Depart ye, depart ye, go ye 
out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go 3'e out of 
the midst of her; be ye clean, ye that bear the vessels 
of the Lord. For ye shall not go out in haste, neither 
shall ve go by flight : for the Lord will go before you ; 
and the God of Israel will be your 1 earward. 

shall see the salvation (i.e. the deliverance or "victory") of our 
God] A different idea from that of .xlv. 22. 

11, 12. A summons to the exiles to prc]viro for their departure 
from Babylon (cf. xlviii. 20, 21). These .ue to accompany 
Jehovah in His triumphal "return to Zion" (see on ch. xl. 10, 11). 

11. go ye out from thence'] from Babylon; "in this .section (vv. 
q — 12) the prophet places himself in spirit at Jerusalem" (Cheyne). 
This is l ^ctter tlian to .suppose his home was in Babylonia, but 
outside the city. 

foucTTno miclean thing] They are to "purify themselves" (see 
below) as those who_ take part in a reli gious procession. The 
stress laid on ceremonial purity in this verse is an exceptional 
feature in the prophecy. 

be ve clean (cleanse yourselves), ye that hear the vessels of the 
Lor.i>i As i n the exodu _s_ fiom F.pypt. the priests beari ng the 
sacred utensils march at the head of the proc ession. Some have 
rendered "ye that are Jehovah's armour-bearers" (so Cheyne, 
formerly), a military figure suggested by the Hebrew phrase, but 
far-fetched in the context. The prominence given to the Temple 
vessels is perhaps ex_plainedj2y_tlieterms_oi_tlie edict of fim.anci- 
pation in Ezra vi. 5 : see Introduction, p. xl. 

127 TTnli kR the former exodus, the departure is to take place 
deli Jjerately and in perfect security, without haste (Ex. xii. 11; 
Deut. "xvi. '^), a representation difiering- s»mewl%aOjmm xlviii. 20. 

the Loiti) will go before you] Ex. xiii. 21 f., etc. 

will be your rearward] See Ex. xiv. 19. 

Ch. eh. 13 — LHI. 12. The Servant's Sacrifice 
AND His Reward. 

This is the last and greatest, as well as the most difficult, of 
the four delineations of the Servant of Jehovah, and in several 
respects occupies a place apart. In the previous passages the 
Serv'ant has been described as the ideal prophet or teacher, 
conscious of a world-wide mission in the service of God, which 
he prosecutes amid discouragement and persecution with inflexible 
purpose and the unfaltering assurance of ultimate success. There 
has been no hint that his activity was interrupted by death. Here 
the presentation is quite different. The conception of the Prophet 
is all but displaced by that of the Man of Sorrows, the meek 
and patient martyr, the sin-bearer. The passage is partly 

- ISAIAH LII. 13 133 

Behold, mj' servant shall ^deal wisely, he shall be 13 

' Or, prosper 

retrospective and partly prophetic. In so far as it is a retrospect 
there is no allusion to the prophetic activity of the Ser\^ant ; it is 
only after he has been raised from the dead that he is to assume 
the function of the great religious guide and authority of the 
world. But the most striking feature of the passage is the 
unparalleled sufferings of the Servant, and the effect they pro- 
duce on the minds of his contemporaries. The tragedy of which 
they have been spectators makes an impression far more profound 
and convincing than any direct teacliing could have done, com- 
pelling them to recognise the mission of the Servant, and at the 
same time producing penitence and confession of their own sin. 
The whole conception here given of the Servant of the Lord 
makes the prophecy the most remarkable anticipation in the Old 
Testament of the "sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should 

The metrical and strophic form is the same as in tlie first two 
Servant-poems. The exact number of tetrastichs cannot be 
certainly determined because of the imperfect preservation of 
the text. In the notes we distinguish fourteen quatrains, of 
which two belong to the introduction, nine to the main theme, 
and three to the conclusion. 

The passage may be divided into three parts : 

(i) An introduction, briefly stating the import of all that 
follows, — the coming exaltation of the Servant in contrast to his 
past abasement (Hi. 13 — 15). 

(2) A historical review of the Servant's career, as he had 
appeared to his contemporaries in the days of his humiliation 
(liii. 1—9). 

(3) An announcement of the glorious future and the astonish- 
ing success in store for him as the reward of his obedience unto 
death (vv. 10 — 12). 

The middle portion may be further divided into three sections 
(vv. I — 3, 4 — 6, 7 — 9), in which a certain progression of thought 
can be recognised. 

13 — 15. Jehovah utters a brief but pregnant announcement 
of the brilliant destiny in store for His Servant. Known to 
many in his misfortunes as an object of aversion and contempt, 
he shall suddenly be revealed in his true dignity; and the un- 
expected transformation will startle the whole world into 
astonishment and reverence. The verses form a prelude to 
ch. liii., being a summary of what is there described in detail; 
and they indicate what is the 'main idea of the whole passage, 
viz. the unexampled contrast between the present (and past) 
degradation and the future glory of Jehovah's Ser\-ant. 

13. my servant shall deal uiisely] A more appropriate render- 

134 FSATAH TJl. 13, 14 

M exalted and lifted up, and sludl be veiy high. Like as 
many were astonied at thee, (his \'isage was so marred 
^more than any man, and his form more than the sons 
' Or, from that of man, and his form from thai of the sons of men 

ing is that of marg. my servant shall prosper, i.e. his career 
shall be crowned with complete success. The primary idea of 
the verb used is no doubt "wisdom" (not mere shrewdness 
however, rather "insight," see Gen. iii. 6; Isa. xliv. 18), but it 
also includes the success whicli is the normal result of wise 
action, and sometimes this secondary idea almost supplants the 
original meaning (Josh. i. 7 f.; i Sam. xviii. 5, 14 f., etc.). This 
sense seems to be required here by the parallelism with the next 
hne, for there is nothing in the whole prophecy to justify us in 
regarding the Servant's elevation as the effect of his wisdom. The 
verse is "a simple prediction of the exaltation awaiting the 
Servant, in contrast with his past sorrows and abasement" 

he shall be exalted and lifted up] Or, " high and lifted up." The 
same combination u.sed of Jehovah in ch. Ivii. 15 ; of His throne 
in vi. I. 

14, 15 must, according to the present text (see below), be read 
as a single compound sentence. The protasis is the first line of 
V. 14 ("Like as many were astonied at thee"); the corresponding 
apodosis follows in v. 15 ("so shall he sprinkle, etc."), the 
intervening clauses being a parenthesis suggested by the word 

14. Like as many were astonied at thee] The word " astonied " 
expresses the blank amazement excited in the minds of beholders 
by the spectacle of the Servant's unparalleled sufferings (cf. i Ki. 
ix. 8; Jer. ii. 12, xviii. 16). It is natural to suppose that the 
"many" here referred to are the same as the "many nations" 
who witness the Servant's subsequent exaltation (v. 15), but the 
point is not to be pressed ; and on the hypothesis that the Servant 
is an individual Israehte, the spectators of the Servant's abase- 
ment could hardly be the nations of- the world. Instead of 
"thee" the Targ. and Pesh. seem to have read "him," thus 
avoiding an embarrassing change of person. The LXX., on the 
other hand, preserves the 2nd pers. throughout v. 14. The 
change of person might no doubt be explained as caused by the 
parenthesis (or the transposition spoken of in the next note) ; 
but it is awkward nevertheless, and many commentators prefer 
to alter the text in accordance with the Targ. 

his visage was so marred etc.] Render: 

— so marred from [that of] man was his aspect, 

and Ws form from [that of] the sons of men — 

The sentence is inserted parenthetically to explain the repugnance 

TSATAH LTT. 14, 15 135 

of men,) so shall he ^sprinkle many nations; kings shall 15 
' Or, startle 

felt by all who beheld the Servant in his former abject condition. 
But this involved construction is nnt of kee pin g with the plain 
a nd natural syntax which is characteristic o f the p ^^em ; and is 
mo reover misleading, because the first p (.so) is .a pt to be read as 
in troducing the apodo sis to t he "i^j^:) {L ike^as) at the beginning 
of the verse" There" are therefore strong^ reasons for accepting 
a suggestion of Marti who transfers the parenthetic sentence to 
the end of liii. 2, where it fits in admirably both with the strophic 
arrangement and with the train of thought. The meaning is 
that the Servant was so disfigured by disease (see ch. liii. 3) as 
to be no longer human in appearance. The word for "marred" 
is pointed as a noun (not found elsewhere): "a marred object." 
A participle (nnc^VO)- would read more naturally after the adverb 
"so," although the punctuators must have had some reason for 
avoiding the more obvious form. 

15. 50 shall he sprinkle many nations'] The verb rendered 
"sprinkle" means elsewhere to "scatter (a liquid) in small 
drops," and its usage is confined to the ceremonial act illustrated 
by Lev. iv. 6 ; Num. xix. 18 f., etc. This is the sense intended by 
the E.V. and the ancient authorities (Aquila, Theodotion, Vulg.) 
which it follows ; the antithesis suggested being that as the 
Servant had been shunned by many as unclean, so he shall (meta- 
phorically) "sprinkle" them, i.e. make them clean. But this 
interpretation imports into the passage ideas which are not 
expressed, and is besides inadmissible on grammatical grounds ; 
i.e. the verb always means to sprinkle (a liquid), not to besprinkle 
(a person or thing). The only rendering at all compatible with 
the ceremonial use of the word would be that of the Targ. : "so 
shall he scatter many nations," where the nations are actually, 
by a most unnatural metaphor, compared to spirting drops of 
water. To reach a satisfactory sense it is necessary to assume 
that tlie Hebrew verb had a wider range of meaning than is 
represented in the O.T. It might be causative of a verb (found 
in Arabic) meaning "to spring" or "leap," just as the English 
"sprinkle" is perhaps etymologically the causative of "spring." 
We may thus render with marg. " so shall he startle many 
nations," i.e. "cause them to spring" in surprise, or (better) 
"cause them to rise up suddenly" in reverential admiration. 
Cf. ch. xlix. 7 and Job xxix. 8 ("The aged arose and stood up"). 
The explanation is not altogether satisfactory, and most recent 
writers have recourse to emendation of the text. But a mere 
correction of the word r\V (even if a plausible one were suggested) 
would not meet the difficulty ; for the defective parallelism shews 
that a whole line has been lost at this point. We cannot help 

T.^f) ISAIAH I. II. 15 

shut their mouths ^at him : for that which had not been 
tohl them shall they see; and that which tlRy had not 
heard shall they ^understand. 

• Or, because of - Or, consider 

thinking that Duhni is on the riglit track wlien he conjectures 
that the clause before us represents tlie remains of two lines, of 
which the first has been retained in a mutilated form by the 
Heb., and the second by the LXX. {daviiiaovraL iOi-q -noWa). 
The matter is too intricate to be discussed here ; but we may 
give Duhm's tentative rendering of the context: — 
I.) As many were horrified at him, 

So will he shine forth before many. 
15 Nations shall be agitated because of him, 
Kings shall shut tlicir mouth. 

kings shall shut their mottths because of him (marg.)] (Job v. 16; 
Ps. cvii. 42). Comp. again Job's touching description of the 
respect paid to him in the days of his prosperity: "The princes 
refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth. The 
nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of 
their mouth" (xxix. 9 f., cf. Mic. vii. 16). 

for that which had not been told them shall they have seen etc.] 
The meaning is either that the exaltation of the Servant is an 
event of which they will have received no announcement before- 
hand, or that it is one the like of which had never been known. 
The first idea is the simpler, and we can see no advantage in 
departing from it. 

liii. 1- — 9. Having thus indicated the subject of his dis- 
course, the prophet now proceeds to describe the career of the 
Servant, and the impression he had made on his contemporaries. 
This is prefaced in w. i by a confession or complaint of the 
universal unbelief which had led to his being so grievously 

But who are the speakers in this section? T hat they a rg.the 
he athen nations is an parly J ewish theory w^hich is naw very 
widely accepted by scholars ; iDut it is very difficult to hold in 
fac e of the fol lowing considerations, (i) In the preceding verse 
(lii. 15) the "nations" and "kings " are surprised by the Servant's 
exaltation because they had not previously heard of it; whereas 
those who now speak (v. i) iia^-P hfflf'^ '""'^^ .-r.iiiri nnt. believe. 
(2) While the nations receive their first impression of the Servant's 
greatness from his exaltation, the moral change now described 
precedes his final triumph. In vv. i — g the language is consistently 
retrospective. Historic tenses are employed throughout, the 
speakers look back en the completed tragedy of the Servant's 
career, and on their former thoughts of him, as things that belong 


Who hath beheved ^our report? and to whom hath 53 

^ Or, that which we have heard 

to the past. On the other hand, the vindication of the Servant 
is always spoken of (both in Hi. 13 — 15, and in Uii. 10 — 12) as 
something still future. The standpoint assumed is therefore 
intermediate between the death of the Servant and Iris exaltation ; 
and the great revulsion of feeling in the mind of the speakers 
is not the result of the revelation of his glory, but is brought 
about bj^ refle.xion on his unparalleled sufferings, and his patient 

demeanour under them, preparing the people to believe the 

predictions which had hitherto seemed incredible. (3) In y.,8 £u^,5co<j 
we come across the expressi on "my peo ple" which is manifes tly 3(4^^ v^ 
imposs ible on the hps of tTie lieaiheli ^!j<J^ on tne v.\. It is .^ 
assumed by some that there is a change of speaker in vv. 7 — 9, ^^^'^^^'ha 
where th eTst pers. plu"r"cloes not happen to occur; Put ther e is-^fto^&j^ 
no break in the narrative of the Servant's sufferings at v. 7, and 't^^^^lM. 
it is most unnatural to suppose that the story begun by one /^, o*-^ 
group of speakers is completed by another, when there is not the ^ 
slightest indication that this is the case. For these reasons we. — ^ — 
must rc rnrlnde that t he specta tors who se thoughts are here^- 
div ulged are Israelites, or one Israelite (perhaps the prop^ i€t 
liimself) s peaking in the name 01 an. . ^ee lurther, pp. gM )'y 

1. The verse should probably be rendered: ^^-^^ 
Who could have believed that which was anndunced to us, 
And the arm Ul JCIiOVlih — to (lit. " on ) whom was it disclosed? 
On the modal use of the Heb jerf .. see Davidson, Syni. § 41, R. 2. 
The sense~~nitiy bS "piitaplirased : "It was an incredible report 
that reached us: only those who were, initiated into the divine 
purpose could have believed it." ,'Tfie word for "report" is 
passive in form (lit. "a thing hgal^d"); o ur report, the refore.. is 
not "that which we reported "'but either " Ine report concerning 
us" (2 Sam. iv. 4) or "tha:t w hich was report ed to u s " : here 
evidently the latter. ^Usually the word denotes a rumour 
circulated by the ordinary channels of intelligence (ch. xxxvii. 
7, etc.) ; but since ^-fie assumed standpoint of the speakers is prior 
to the glorificatiefi of the Servant, the "report" here must be of 
the nature ofX prediction. It seems necessary therefore to take 
the word iryits, religious sense ofa divine r e^^lartien-f^'audition," 
see on ell xx'viii.~Q), a ^' Lhl n^TTieard" froTi . JfJinv^h- "Our 
re velatio n " might of course be said by the prophet of a communi- 
cation made directly to himself; but it might also be said by the 
people of a revelation which had reached them through the 
medium of the prophets (cf. Jer. xlix. 14; Obad. i). The 
reference will be to the prophecies bearing on the Servant's 
glorious destin)' ; ch. xlii. i — 4, xlix. i — 6, 1. 4 — 9. 

1.38 ISATAH 1,111. I, > 

2 the arm of the Lord been revealed ? For he grew up 
before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry 
ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; ^and when 

' Or, that we should look upon him ; nor beauty &-c. 

The arm of the Loitu is, as in ch. li. 9, lii. 10, etc., a metaphor 
for Jehovali's operation in history or providence. It was He 
who raised up the Servant, and all throtrgh his tragic history 
God was working by him for the redemption of His people and 
tlie mbringing of eternal salvation. But this divine power 
behind the Servant had not been "disclosed" to any of his 
contemporaries; they had neither perceived it for themselves 
nor beheved it when declared to them, and so in tlie blindness 
and deafness of their unbelief they had misconceived him in the 
manner exhibited in vv. 2 ff. 

The verse is cited, with reference to the rejection of the Gospel 
by the Jews, in John xii. 38 and (in part) Kom. x. 16. 

2. The verse takes us back to the origin of the Servant's 
career, in order to account for the powerful prejudices with which 
his contemporaries regarded him. From the first he had been 
mean and unprepossessing in appearance, like a stunted shrub 
struggling for existence in an arid soil. To this corresponded 
the first impressions of the spectators, which were mainly of a 
negative kind ; they found in him nothing that was attractive 
or desirable. Beyond this the verse does not go. 

For he ^rew up] Lit. And (so) he grew up. It is not easy to 
make out the connexion between this sentence and the last. 
If what is here stated were the explanation of the unbelief 
confessed in v. i, the proper conjunction would be "for," and so 
the word is by some rendered. We must rather suppose that the 
"and" of consequence reaches beyond the bare fact stated in 
the next clause, and covers the total effect of the Ser-zant's 
appearance on the mind of his contemporaries, which was the 
consequence of their lack of spiritual insight. The construction 
would be somewhat easier if, with Ewald and others, we change 
the reading "before him" to "before us." But that is no 
sufficient reason for departing from the received text : before 
him = "under His (Jehovah's) eye and care." 

as a tender plant] a sapling. Cf. Ez. xvii. 22; Job xiv. 7. 
There seems to be a tacit allusion to ch. xi. i. 

a root (cf. ch. xi. 10) out of a dry ground'] The "dry ground" 
might, on some theories of what is meant by the Servant, symbolise 
the Exile \\-ith its political hardships and lack of religious advan- 
tages, but it is doubtful if the figure should be pressed so far. 
The Servant is compared to a plant springing up in such a soil, 
but whether the prophet thought of his lowly growth £ks due in 
any degree to unfavourable circumstances is uncertain. 

he hath no form etc.] The second tetrastich of the chapter 

ISAIAH LIII. 2, 3 139 

we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire 
him. He was despised, and ^rejected of men; a man of 3 
sorrows, and acquainted with "^grief: and ^as one from 

'■ Or, forsaken - Heb. sickness. 

* Or, he hid as it were his face from us 

commences here, hath should be had, and comeliness, majesty. 
The words for form and beauty are the same as those we have 
rendered "form" and "aspect" in hi. 14. Both are here used in 
the sense of "pleasing form," etc.; comp. "a man of form" in 
I Sam. xvi. 18, and the 'Lz.tin formosus irom forma, or "shapely" 
from "shape." 

and when we see hi ml Rather : when we saw him. The clause 
might (with marg., disregarding the accents) be read' with what 
precedes: "...and no majesty, that we should look upon him — 
and no aspect that we should desire him." This yields a more 
perfect parallelism in the last two lines ; but the clause (one word 
in Heb.) is metrically superfluous, and is perhaps better omitted 

Here we take in the latter part of lii. 14, completing the second 
strophe (see p. 134 f.): "so marred from that of man was his 
aspect, and his form from that of the sons of men." 

3. Not only did the Servant fail to attract his contemporaries 
(v. 2); there was that in his appearance which excited positive 
aversion. He is represented as one stricken with loathsome and 
disfiguring disease, probably leprosy (see on v. 4), so that men 
instinctively recoiled from him in horror and disgust. 

He was despised, and' rejected of men] Better: Despised and 
man-forsalsen, i.e. one with whom men refuse to associate, or, 
perhaps, one who renounces the hope of human fellowship. The 
corresponding verb is used by Job when he complains of the 
estrangement of his friends : "my kinsfolk have failed" (ch. xix. 
14). The irregular plu. D''L'"S ("men") is found again in Ps. 
cxli. 4, Prov. viii. 4. Here it may be set down as a clerical error. 

For sorrows... grief, read pains... sicliness. Although both words 
may be used tropically of mental suffering, it is plain that in the 
figure of this verse and the following they are to be taken in their 
literal sense. 

and as one from whom there is a hiding of faces] His appearance 
was such as to cause men involuntarily (or in superstitious dread) 
to cover their face from the sight of him. The expression re- 
semb les another phy ase of Job's: "I am a spitting in the face" 
(xvii. G). For the idea cf. Tob x ix. 19, xxx. 10. Leprosy is 
strongly suggested. The rendering of LXX. and Vulg. "and as 
one who-hid his face from us" is grammatically defensible, but 
conveys a wrong idea ; the Servant "hid not his face fr om shame 
and spitfmg" (ch. 1. 6). "~ " ~ ' 

I40 ISAIAH LI II. ^. 4 

wlioni men liide tlioir fare he was despised, and wo 
esteemed liim not. 
4 Surely he hatli borne our ^griefs, and carried our 
sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of 

' Heb. sicknesses. 

esteemed him not] (lit. "reckoned him not"), held him ol no 

4— -6. While vv. 2, 3 describe the natural instinctive impres- 
sions produced by the Servant's appearance, vu. 4 — 6 reveal 
incidentally the moral judgement which the people were led to 
form regarding him. His unparalleled sufferings had seemed to 
them to mark him out as a special object of Jehovah's anger 
(v. 4), just as Job's calamities were believed by his friends to be 
the evidence of great, though secret, sins. But it is the reversal 
of this judgement, and the perception thereby gained of the true 
nature of the Servant's mission, that is the chief theuie of this 
section. The people now see that although he suffered greatly 
he was himself innocent, and from this they have advanced to 
the conclusion that he suffered vicariously, bearing the penalty 
due to the sin of his nation. This change of attitude towards 
the Servant marks the beginning of repentance in the people ; 
the consciousness of their own guilt takes possession of their 
minds when they read God's judgement upon it in the chastise- 
ment borne by their substitute. 

4. Surely he hath borne etc.] Render: 

But truly it was our sicknesses that he bore, 
And our pains that he carried. 
The emphasis of contrast lies on the words our and he in both lines. 
To "bear" sickness is not to take it away (although that will be 
the effect of vicarious bearing of it) but simply to endure it (as 
Jer. X. 19). In Matt. viii. 17 the words are applied to our Lord's 
miracles of healing, but the prophet's meaning plainly is that 
the Servant endured in his own person the penal consequences 
of the people's guilt. 

yet we did esteem etc.] Rather: while we accounted him stricken, 
etc. The subject "we" is strongly emphasised, and the clause is 
circumstantial, introducing the people's false estimate of the 
Servant as a concomitant of the main statement of the verse. 
"Stricken" is the expression used when God visits a man with 
severe and sudden sickness (Gen. xii. 17 ; i Sam. vi. 9), especially 
leprosy, which was regarded as preeminently the "stroke" of 
God's hand (Job xix. 21 ; 2 Ki. x\'. 5; Lev. xiii. 3, 9, 20) and 
the direct consequence of sin. That the Servant is pictured as 
a leper is suggested by several particulars in the description, such 
as his marred and disfigured form, and his isolation from human 

ISAIAH LIII. 4— G 141 

God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our trans- 5 
gressions, he was bruised for our iniquities : the chastise- 
ment of our peace was upon him ; and with his stripes 
we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray ; we 6 

.society, as well as the universal conviction of his contemporaries 
that he was a special object of the divine wrath ; and the impres- 
sion is confirmed by the parallel case of Job, the typical righteous 
sufferer, whose disease was elephantiasis, the most hideous form 
of leprosy. It has to be borne in mind, of course, that the figure 
of the Servant is in some sense an ideal creation of the prophet's 
mind, so that the leprosy is only a strong image for such sufferings 
as are the evidence of God's wrath against sin. 

5. In w. 4 the people confess that the Servant was their 
substitute in his endurance of pains and sicknesses ; here they 
penetrate more deepl}^ into the meaning of his sufferings, per- 
ceiving the connexion between his passion and their own sin. 
The connexion is twofold ; in the first place the Servant's suffering 
was the penalty due to the people's transgressions, and in the 
second place it was the remedy by which they were restored to 
spiritual health. 

But he was pierced because of our transgressions, 
Crushed because of our iniquities. 
The strong verbs "pierced" (see ch. h. 9) and "crushed" (Job 
vi. 9) are probably metaphors expressing the fatal ravages of 

the chastisement of our peace^ i.e. the chastisement needful to 
procure peace or well-being for us. "Chastisement" is pain 
inflicted for moral ends and with remedial intent (Prov. iii. 11 f., 
etc.). Cheyne's assertion that the notion of punishment is the 
primary onQ in this word is not borne out by O.T. usage. 

with his stripes'] Lit. weals (see ch. i. 6). 

That the people themselves had suffered for their sins is not 
excluded, but is apparently implied in the last words ("we are 
healed"), and is expressly said in other parts of the book (ch. 
xl. 2, xlii. 24 f., etc.). What the verse teaches is that the people 
could not be healed by their own suffering ; it was only through 
the Servant's voluntary submission to the divine chastisement 
{v. 7), and his bearing it in an extraordinary degree, that an 
atonement was effected between Jehovah and Israel (see on 
ch. xl. 2). 

6. Looking back on their former irreligious condition the 
people see that their rejection of the Servant was the natural 
outcome of the heedless and inconsiderate selfishness in which 
they were living. For the figure of the strayed sheep, cf. Ps. 
cxix. 176; Matt. ix. 36, x. 6; Luke xv. 4. 

For have gone. ..have turned, read had gone. ..had turned. 

i.|2 JSAIAH I.I 1 1. 0, 7 

have turned every one to his own wa\' ; and the Lord 
hath ^laid on him the iniquity of us all. 
7 He was oppressed, yet he humbled himself and opened 
not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, 
and as a sheep that before her shearers is dumb; yea, 

' Heb. made to light. 

every one to his own way] selfishly following his individual 
impulses and interests; cf. Ivi. ii. 

hath laid on him the iniquity] made to light on him the guilt. 

7 — 9. The narrative of the Scr\ ant's sufferings is in ihcse 
verses brought to its conclusion: after enduring violence and 
injustice at the hands of men, his life was cut short and he was 
laid in a dishonoured grave. The passage presents many diffi- 
culties, and the details of the picture are somewhat uncertain. 
Thus it is doubtful whether the Servant be represented as put to 
death by men, or as carried off by the disease with which Jehovah 
had smitten him. With perhaps less reason it has been questioned 
whether there is any reference to human cruelty in the verses at 
all, whether the strong expressions "oppressed," "oppression," 
"judgement" are not to be understood figuratively of the hard 
fate which relentlessly pursued the sufferer to his death (so 
Duhm). These matters, however, are of subordinate interest; 
the prominent feature of the description is the meek and sub- 
missive demeanour of the Servant under his undeserved sufferings. 

7. He ivas oppressed, yet he humbled himself] The first verb 
("oppressed") may summarise the preceding account of the 
Servant's afflictions (Dillmann), but more probably it introduces 
a feature not previously adverted to, namely, the outrages 
inflicted on the Ser\-ant by his contemporaries, in consequence 
of their false judgement of him. It denotes harsh, cruel and 
arbitrarv' treatment, such as that of a slave-driver towards those 
who are under him (Ex. iii. 7; Job iii. 18), and is nowhere 
employed of God's action towards men. The second verb is 
shewn by the form of sentence to be a contrast to the first, and 
must therefore be rendered as in K.V. : yet he humbled himself 
(cf. Ex. X. 3, "How long dost thou refuse to humble thyself...':'). 
And as this is the main idea of the verse, the meaning may best 
be brought out if we translate the first two lines thus : 
Though oppressed, he was submissive. 
And opened not his mouth. 
Cf. Ps. xxxviii. 13, 14, xxxix. 9. 

As a lamb (lit. "sheep") that Is led to the slaughter. 

And a sheep (lit. "ewe") that before her shearers is dumb. 

Comp. Jer. xi. 19: "I was hke a gentle lamb that is led to the 

ISAIAH LIII. 7, 8 143 

he opened not his mouth. ^By oppression and judge- 8 
ment he was taken away; -and as for his generation, 

^ Or, From » 

^ Or, and his life who shall recount ? for he was cut off &c. 

yea, he opened not his mouth'] in the Heb. an exact repetition of 
the second Hne. Since the tetrastich is complete without it, the 
clause has probably been inserted through an error in transcrip- 

8. By oppression and judgement he was taken away] Every 
word here is ambiguous. The principal interpretations ai"e as 
follows: (i) "Without hi ndrance and witliout right he w as taken 
away," i.e. he was pu"T without op positio n from any 
quarter, and in defiance of justice. The only exception that can 
fairly be taken^to this view is the translation "hindrance," a 
sense of the noun for which there are no parallels. Yet the verb 
from which the noun is derived occurs in the sense of "detain" 
(i Ki. xviii. 44, etc.), and as the noun is very uncommon, the 
rendering cannot be pi-onounced impossible. (2) "Through 
oppressio n and through judgement he was taken away" (so 
virtually"~R.V.). "Judgement "here means "judicial procedure," 
and the rendering "oppression" is guaranteed by Ps. cvii. 39. 
"Oppression and judgement" may mean (as explained by 
Cheyne) an oppressive judgement ("through distressful doom," 
see his Introduction, p. 428), the idea being that the Servant's 
death, like that of our Lord, was a judicial murder. For " taken 
away" in the sense of "put to death" cf. Ezek. xxxiii. 4 (where, 
however, a different part of the verb is used). (3) " From 
oppression and f rom judgement h e was taken away," i.e. released 
by dfdlh, OT "Taken by God to Himself (2 Ki. ii. 10). Here 
the sense of "oppression and judgement" is indeterminate; the 
meaning might either be simply that by death he was finally 
released from his troubles, or that God took him away from the 
malice of his persecutors. The rendering "imprisonment" 
instead of "oppression" could be justified from the usage of 
the verb (2 Ki. xvii. 4, etc.), although not of the noun itself; 
only in this case we must not read, "From im.prisonment...he 
was led away (to execution)," for that is an idea which could 
hardly have suggested itself apart from the fulfilment of the 
prophecy in the crucifixion of Christ. Of the three interpretations 
the last seems on the whole the most natural, although everything 
turns on the question whether the death of the Servant is con- 
ceived as caused directly by men or by God through sickness. 
(See below on the last clause of this verse.) 

and as for his generation etc.] A still more difficult clause. 
The Heb. word for "generation" (d6r) may mean {a) the time in 
which he lived, (b) the circle of his contemporaries, (c) those like- 
minded with him (Ps. xii. 7, xiv. 5; Prov. xxx. 11 ff.); but is 


who among them considered that he was cut off out of 
the land of the hving? for the transgression of my people 

never 'used with any such significance as "length of life," or 
"life-history," or "posterity." In none of its three senses does 
it supply a suitable object to the verb rendered "consider" 
(Ps. cxliii. 5, "meditate"). We may take it in the sense (b), and 
render with R.V. (On this construction see Davidson, Synl. 
§ 72, Rem. 4.) Duhm (following Knobel) takes dor in its Aramaic 
sense of "dwelling-place" (see on ch. .xxxviii. 12) and translates 
"who inquires after his dwelling-place" (with God)? It would 
be better to understand "dwelling-place" exactly as in xxxviii. 
12, of the earthly dwelling-place, the place that once knew him 
but knows him no more : " Who inquires after it, or thinks about 
it?" he has vanished from the thoughts of men. But it is 
doubtful if the verb nmb' can be construed with direct ace. .of 
the object. The same objection applies to the otherwise plausible 
emendation IBTI, "his fate" (for lilT)- It is impossible to get 
beyond conjecture. 

that he was cut off (Ps. Ixxxviii. 5 ; Ezek. xxxvii. 11) out of the 
land of the living] Comp. again Jer. xi. 19. The R.V. makes 
this clause an object sentence governed by the verb "considered." 
It is much more likely to be an independent clause, introduced by 

for the transgression of my people was he stricken (lit. "(was) a 
stroke upon him")] The last word in the Heb. (lOb) would be 
translated most naturally "upon them" (but see Davidson, 
Gram. § 19, R. c); hence some render "because of the rebellion 
of my people, the stroke {due) to them." A far more satisfactory 
sense is obtained by the help of the LXX. Read "ICv and 
change the preceding noun into a passive verb {niigga' for nega') 
and render was he stricken unto death. The expression " stricken " 
is from the same verb which in i;. 4 suggested leprosy as the 
of the Servant's disfigurement; and its use here in connexion 
with his death is in favour of the view that he died of his sickness 
and not by the hands of his persecutors. If this conclusion be 
sound it confirms the view expressed above as to the sense of the 
first clause of this verse. 

my people] The sing. suff. ("721?) does not necessarily imply 
that the speaker is now an individual (see i Sam. v, 10, 11), 
although "lus people" (i'3y) would give an equally good sense. 
The text is naturally challenged by those who hold that the 
speakers are the Gentiles, and the Servant the actual nation of 
Israel. But \:t'4 is equally fatal to their interpretation; and the 
indefinite plu. D^'2L' is weak and very unlikely. To save their 
theory, Budde, Marti, Peake and others boldly but quite un- 

ISAIAH LIII. 8, 9 143 

^vvas he stricken. And they made his grave with the 9 
wielded, and with the rich in his ^ death; ^altliough he 

^ Or, to whom the stroke was due 

- Heb. deaths. Se? Ezek. xxviii. 8, 10. ^ Or, because 

warrantably read "for our transgressions" (■1J^l/e"Sp). There is 
really no reason to question the received text. 

9. The unrelenting antipathy which the Servant experienced 
through life is continued even after his death, and expresses itself 
in the manner of his burial. 

And they made his grave with the wicked'] The subject is 
indefinite, the construction being equivalent to a passive: "And 
his grave was made,'" etc. "With the wicked" need not imply 
that a special burial-ground was set apart for them as a class, 
but onty that such persons were buried ignominiously and away 
from the family sepulchre, like Absalom (2 Sam. xviii. 17). From 
Jer. xxvi. 2^ (cf. 2 Ivi. xxiii. 6) it appears that it was a disgrace 
to be buried among the "common people." In this case the 
"wicked" probably means the notoriously wicked, criminals, 
apostates, and such like. With these the Servant was numbered 
because his calamities had seemed to mark him out as a heinous 
sinner in the sight of God. 

and with the rich in his death] This clause must express the 
same idea as the preceding. To take the two antithetically, 
" they meant his g.rave to be with the wicked, but he was with the 
rich in his death" (Delitzsch), is utterly unwarrantable. It is, 
no doubt, somewhat difficult to justify this sense of "rich" as 
synonymous with "wicked" from O.T. usage, although it might 
perhaps be suggested by the common identification of poverty 
with piety. .This explanation, however, is not satisfactory, and 
several emendations have been proposed, such as "the oppressor" 
(picy for "l''t^'^), "the defrauder" (P''L"r, Aramaic), "evil-doers" 

in his death] Tit. "in his deaths " (marg. ). The use of the plural 
is variously explained. Some find in it an intimation of the 
collective character of the subject spoken of under the name of 
the Servant ; but even if the Servant be a collective idea, it is 
inconceivable that the writer should have here abandoned the 
personification which he has so strictly maintained throughout. 
Nor is it any relief to say that it means "in his state of death." 
It is better to read the singular with the LXX. There is, however, 
another reading found in a few MSS. and adopted by many 
commentators, according to which the clause would form a 
perfect parallelism with the first line : 

"And with the rich (or oppressor, etc.) his sepulchral mound." 

It is true that the word bdmdh (= high-place) is not elsewhere 


146 ISAIAH LI II. 9, 10 

had dono im violence, neither was an^' deceit in his 
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath ^put 
' Heb. made him sick 

used in this sense ; but none of the other suggested corrections 
yields as good a* sense. 

although he had done no violence etc.] For this rendering of the 
prep, 'al, see Job xvi. 17. With this assertion of his innocence 
the narrati\e of the Servant's career reaches its conclusion. 
While absolute sinlessness is not explicitly predicated of him, 
but only freedom from "violence" and "deceit," yet the image 
of the lamb led to tlie slaughter, and his patient resignation to 
the will of God, strongly suggest that the prophet had in his mind 
the conception of a perfectly sinless character. 

10 — 12. These difficult verses describe, partly in the pro- 
phet's own words and partly in those of Jehovah, the divine 
purpose which is realised through the sufferings of the Ser\'ant. 
In vv. 10, 11 it is impossible to trace a clear connexion of ideas; 
the grammar also is pecuhar, and there is undoubtedly great 
textual disorder. The main thought, however, is that the 
Servant is to be the instrument in establishing the true religion, 
by removing the burden of guilt and bringing many to righteous- 
ness. As the reward of his sufferings he will enjoy a brilliant 
future and have a numerous spiritual offspring. He w^ili become 
a great power in the world, attaining a position like that of a 
mighty conqueror. The idea of a resurrection from the dead 
appears to be necessarily implied. If the Servant be a personifi- 
cation of Israel, this is merely a figure for national restoration 
from exile ; but if he be an individual, then his resurrection 
must be accepted as a literal fact, just as his death must be 
literally understood. 

10. Yet it pleased... grief] The sentence, according to the ■ 
received Heb. text, must be a restatement of the fact that the 
Servant has suffered by the will of Jehovah, this being repeated 
in order to introduce the explanation of Jehovah's purpose in 
imposing chastisement upon him. The second clause, he hath 
put him to grief, represents a single Hebrew word, which is 
vocalised and translated by the LXX. as the noun for "sickness" 
{v. 3). The meaning intended by the punctuators is probably 
"he hath made him sick" (marg.), although the form is anomalous 
and the syntax questionable. Since it is too short to form an 
independent line, it must be closely attached to what precedes ; 
hence the rendering of Dillmann and others, "It pleased Jehovah 
to crush him grievously" (cf. Mic. vi. 13; Nah. iii. 19). This is 
perhaps the best that can be made of the received reading, but 
it is clear that the textual derangement which prevails in these 
verses begins here (see below). 

ISAIAH LIII. lo, II 147 

him to grief: ^when thou shalt make his soul ^an 
offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his 
days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his 
hand. '^He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall n 

^ Or, when his soul shall make an offeriyig 

- Heb. a guilt offering. 

^ Or, He shall see and be satisfied with the travail 'S'C. 

when thou shall make his soul an offering for sin""] Rather : "if 
(or when) his soul should present a guilt-offering." The difficulty 
here does not lie in the analogy of the guilt-offering, for this 
probably signifies nothing more than has been already expressed 
in plain words, that the Servant's death is the means of removing 
guilt [vv. 4, 5, 6). It does not appear that the distinctive ritual 
and function of the guilt-offering ('dshdm, see Lev. v. 14 ff., etc.) 
throw any light on this passage. The chief difficulty is the 
hypothetical character of the sentence, of which no satisfactory 
explanation can be given. No doubt the atoning effect of the 
sufferings is the condition of Jehovah's great purpose being 
attained, but the condition has been already fulfilled, whereas it 
is here spoken of as an event which is, if not problematic, at least 
future. — The subject is ambiguous, but on every ground it is 
better to suppose that "his soul" is subject than that Jehovah 
is addressed. Ewald and Cheyne, however, prefer to read (with 
the change of a consonant) "when he shall make his soul a guilt- 

he shall see his seed (cf. Gen. 1. 23), he shall prolong his days] 
i.e. shall enjoy long life. His "seed" are the true spiritual 
Israel of the future, those who by his means are converted to 
the knowledge of Jehovah. 

the pleasure (i.e. the purpose, see on xliv. 28) of the Loud] The 
establishment of the universal religion, the eternal salvation. 
The verse returns on itself by repetition of the opening idea (as 
vv. 3, 6, 7) — "palindromically," as Delitzsch would say. 

11. An amplification of the meaning of v. 10. He shall 

see etc.] I^it. Of the travail of his soul he shall see, shall be 
satisfied. It is doubtful if the preposition "of" can express 
result, as the E.V. suggests, or can introduce the object of the 
verb "he shall see." It may be used in its local sense ("away 
from," or "free from") or causally ("in consequence of"), hardly 
in a temporal sense ("after"). The asyndetic construction of 
the two verbs probably indicates that one is to be subordinated 
to the other: he shall see with satisfaction, sc. the cause of 
Jehovah prospering in his hand (as v. 10). The LXX. deserves 
attention : " And it pleased the Lord to deliver (a variant reading 
of the last clause of y. 10) [him] from the trouble of his soul : to 
cause him to see light," etc. 

i.}8 TSAIAH I, III. II, [J 

he satisfied : by his knowledge shall my righteous servant 
I-' ' justif\- nian\' : and he shall hear their iniciuities. There- 
fore will T di\-i(le him a portion with tlu^ great, anrl'lie 

' Or, make many riglitcuiis 

by his knowledge] The gen. is not that of the obi. ("by the 
knowledge of him ") but of the subj. ; the knowledge of (rod and 
salvation which he po.ssesses, and which he communicates to 
others. The reference is to the prophetic activity of t)ie Servant 
(see xlii. i ff., xlix. 2, 1. 4 f.) whicii had seemed to be cut short 
by his death, but will be resumed, and crowned with success, in 
his exalted state. 

It seems probable that originally a strophe ended at this 
point. It is difficult, however, to make out whether v. 10 and 
the previous part of w. 11 form one quatrain, or two. The text, 
as has been said, is extremely corrupt ; but a comparison of the 
LXX. version, and tlie fact that certain words and phrases are 
duplicated (in a mf)re or less disguised form) have suggested to 
several critics that two variants of the same text have been 
confused both in the Heb. and the I^XX. On that assumption 
(which appears to us to be well founded) the passage will fall 
within the compass of a single tetrastich, which of course cannot 
be restored with even an approach to certainty, but might have 
run somewhat as follows : 

But it pleased Jehovah to honour him. 

To deliver his soul from suffering; 
He will cause him to see light and be satisfied ; 
In his seed he shall prolong his days. 

shall my righteous servant justify ma)iy] Lit. "shall a righteous 
one, my servant, make the many righteous"; but the Heb. is 
peculiar. The use of the prep. '? to denote the obj. of a verb 
belongs mostly to late Heb., and is due to Aramaic influence. 
The ordinary sense of the word for "justify" ("declare righteous") 
is here unsuitable, and the only other passage where it bears the 
ethical sense of "making righteous" is probably ba.sed on this 
verse (Dan. xii. 3, "they that turn the many to righteousness"). 
The many contains a reference to lii. 14 f. The clause would 
read more smoothly and more rhythmically if we suppose that 
the word rendered "a righteous one" has. arisen through ditto- 
graphy. The line would then be rendered simply ; My Servant 
shall make many righteous. Note that from this point onward 
the speaker is Jehovah. 

and he shall bear their iniquities'] Cf. v. 4. 

12. As the reward of his unmerited sufferings and his media- 
torial work, the Servant shall attain an influence equal to that of 
the great potentates of the world. "To divide spoil" is a 

ISAIAH LIII. 12 ■ 149 

shall divide the spoil with the strong ; because he poured 
out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the 
transgressors: yet he bare the sin of many, and hiiade 
intercession for the transgressors. 
^ Or, maketh 

figurative and proverbial expression for victory or success ; 
Prov. xvi. 19 ("It is better to be of lowly spirit with the meek 
than to divide spoil with the proud"). It is therefore not 
necessarily implied that the Servant's future greatness will be 
political, although that is certainly suggested. 

Instead of will I divide, the LXX. reads "he shall inherit" 
(which is perhaps preferable as avoiding the recurrence of the 
same verb in two consecutive lines), but it is a mistake of some 
authorities to follow this version in treating the "great" as 
direct obj. of the verb; the sense must be either "he shall 
inherit," or "I will give him a share" amongst the many. 

The latter part of the verse returns to the great contrast that 
runs through the passage, between the true meaning of the 
Servant's afflictions and the false construction put on them. 

because he poured out his sou[] his blood, wliich is the seat of 
life; Lev. xvii. 11. For the expression cf. Ps. cxli. 8. 

ivas numbered with tlie transgressors^ See v. 9. Cited Mark 
XV. 28; Luke xxii. 37. 

yet he bare etc.'] whereas he bare, the true view of his death as 
opposed to the false judgement of men, — a circumstantial clause. 

for the transgressors] The class to which he was himself reckoned. 

Although several things in this marvellous description of the 
innocent suffering for the guilty be obscure, the salient features 
of the picture stand out with great clearness. Whether the 
portrait be that of an individual or of a personified community 
is a question that need not here be discussed (.see Appendix, 
Note II). If there be personification it is as consistently main- 
tained as it is vividly conceived, and we are not entitled to assume 
that the writer has anywhere allowed the collective reality to 
peer through the veil of allegory. The figure brought on the 
scene is that of a man, so marred and deformed by revolting 
sickness as to be universally shunned and despised and maltreated 
as one bearing the manifest tokens of the divine displeasure ; yet 
the dignity and patience of his demeanour profoundly impress 
his contemporaries, so that after his death their thoughts are 
irresistibly drawn back to the tragedy of his fate, and they come 
to the conviction that he was indeed what he professed to be, 
the Servant of Jehovah, that he was the one innocent person in 
his generation, and that his sufferings were due not to his personal 
guilt, but to the guilt of a whole nation, wiiich is by them atoned 
for and taken away. And finally it is prophesied concerning him 


that he shall rise again, to the astonishment of the whole world, 
and that his career shall be crowned with success even more 
conspicuous than his humiliati(jn had been. — It has already been 
pointed out that this conception of the Servant has certain 
afhnities with the figure of Job, and it may be partly moulded 
on the story of .that patriarch's trial. But the religious teaching 
of this peissage moves on a different plane from that of the Book 
of Job. The problem of individual retribution, of how it can be 
that the righteous suffer, does not seem to have been present to 
the mind of the writer, although he no doubt furnishes an impor- 
tant contribution to the solution of that mystery. This is found 
in the idea of vicarious suffering, which is so emphatically ex- 
pressed throughout the passage. Now the principle that the 
individual bears the guilt of the community to which he belongs 
was perfectly familiar to the ancient world, and many startling 
applications of it occur in the O.T. (Josh. vii. 24; 2 Sam. xxi. 6, 
etc.). It is true that it had begun to excite protest towards the 
time of the Exile (Deut. xxiv. 16; 2 Ki. xiv. 6; Jer. xxxi. 29; 
Ez. xviii. 20) ; but this prophet accepts the principle and discerns 
in it a moral significance by which it is deprived of the appear- 
ance of arbitrariness or injustice. The e.ssence of the Servant's 
sacrifice lies in the fact that whilst himself innocent he acquiesces 
in the divine judgement on sin, and willingly endures it for the 
sake of his people. And it is the perception of this truth on the 
part of the people that brings home to them the sense of their 
own guilt, and removes the obstacle which their impenitence had 
interposed to Jehovah's purpose of salvation. The suffering of 
the innocent on behalf of the guilty is thus seen to be a moral 
necessity, since it was only through such sufferings as the sinless 
Servant of the Lord was alone capable of, that punishment could 
reach its end in the taking away of sin and the bringing in of 
everlasting righteousness. The reader should consult the excellent 
treatment of this subject in Dr Peake's The Problem of Suffering 
in the Old Testament, chap. iii. 

Ch. LIV. The Future Felicity of Zion, reunited to 
Jehovah in an Everlasting Covenant. 

The chapter continues the series of oracles of consolation which 
commences at xlix. 14, and is broken by the two passages on the 
Servant of the Lord in 1. 4 — 11 and Hi. 13 — liii. 12. The direct 
influence of the latter passage on ch. liv. is less obvious than might 
have been expected from the singularly profound conceptions 
there unfolded of the work of Jehovah's Servant. The points 
of contact adduced by some commentators are few and unessential, 
and they fall into insignificance by the side of the fact that "it 
cannot be shown that any of the characteristic ideas of ch. liii. 
are clearly referred to in ch. liv." (Cheyne.) Yet the supposition 
that this chapter was originally the sequel to Iii. 12 and that the 


Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear ; break forth 54 
into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail 
with child : for more are the children of tlie desolate 

intervening prophecy was inserted by an afterthought is neither 
necessary nor altogether natu ral. The summons to depart from 
Babylon (Ui. 11, 12) marks a pause in the development of the 
prophet's thought, and (just as after the similar apostrophe in 
xlviii. 20 — 22) a fresh point of departure is found in the idea of 
the Servant of the Lord. Moreover, although it may not be 
possible to trace th e dir ect dependence of ch. liv. on ch. liii., we 
may neverthel ess supp ose a real connexion between the two in 
t he prfip hpt'c mipri The two chapters deal with the same 
subject from two dist inct standpoints. Whatever view be held 
as to the Servant's personality, there is no doubt that his exalta- 
tion implies the restoration of Israel, and that his work is the 
indispensable condition of that restoration being accomplished. 
Thus while ch. liii. describes the inward process of. conversion by 
which the nation is made righteous, ch. liv. describes the outward 
deliverance which is the result ; and the impression is probably 
correct that the glowing hopes here uttered are sustained in the 
last resort by the contemplation of the Servant's mission as 
described in ch. liii. 

The chapter consists of two sections : 

i. vv. I — 10. (i) Zio n, addressed as a barren and des olate 
womaii^Js_xmufDJd£d-:alth_th£_assur-ance-tliat4ier--cliildxen are 
m ore nume rous than those she formerly had as the "married 
wife" of JehovaTi^ She is bidden to extend her tent so as to 
receive them, for they shall spread abroad on every side, peopling 
the deserted cities and taking possession of the territory of the 
Gentiles (uS. I — 3). (2) The shame of her youth and the reproach 
of widowhood are wiped out by her reconciliation to Jehovah, 
her Husband and her Maker {vv. 4 — 6). ' {3) It will be seen that 
her rejection was but a brief withdrawal of Jehovah's favour for 
her; her restoration now is final, resting on a covenant as un-« 
changeable as the oath to Noah, or the everlasting mountains 
(vv. 7 — -10). 

ii. vv. II — 17. J erusalem shall be rebuilt in lavish ma gnifi- 
cence (vv. 11, 12); her citizens, being all disciples of Jehovah, 
slialTenjoy perfect peace, undisturbed by the thought of oppres- 
sion (13, 14); her enemies shall be confounded, and no weapon 
forged against her shall prosper (15 — 17). 

1 — 3. The ideal Zion is called upon to rejoice in the multitude 
of her children. As in ch. xlix. 21, the children are conceived as 
already born, and waiting to be acknowledged by their mother. 

1. more are the children of the desolate (2 Sam. xiii. 20) etc.'] The 
contrast is not between Zion and other cities, but between Zion's 
present and her past : even now in her widowhood and barrenness 

15^ ISAIAH I.IW 1—5 

than the rliildron of the nianied wife, saitli the T.ord. 

2 Flnlar/^'e the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth 
the curtains of thine habitations; spare not: lengthen 

3 thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes. For thou shalt 
spread abroad on the right hand and on the left; and 
thy seed shall possess the nations, and make the desolate 

4 cities to be inhabited. Fear not; for thou shalt not be 
ashamed : neither be thou confounded ; for thou shalt 
not be put to shame : for thou shalt forget the shame 
of thy youth, and the reproach of thy widowhood shalt 

5 thou remember no more. For thy Maker is thine hus- 
band ; the Lord of hosts is his name : and the Holy One 

she has inore children than she had before her separation from 
her Husband. 

the married wife] Cf. ch. Ixii. 4; Gen. xx 3; Deut. xxii. 22. 
The image of the verse is apphed by St Paul to the contrast 
between the spiritual and the earthly Jerusalem ; i.e. the church 
of Christ and the Jewish community (Gal. iv. 27). 

2. The idea of the verse is expressed in xlix. 20, 21 ; for the 
figure of the tent (in an opposite sense) cf Jer. x. 20. 

let them stretch forth'] The impf. should perhaps be changed to 
impve., stretch forth, with the old versions. 

The curtains are the tent-hangings (Jer. xlix. 29; Hab. iii. 7), 
the stakes, the tent-pegs (ch. xxxiii 20). 

The words spare riot should, according to the accents, be joined 
to the preceding clause. 

3. The tent must be larger than of old, for the new comrpunity 
shall spread abroad (lit. "break forth": cf. Gen. xxviii. 14, 
XXX. 30, 43) on the right hand and on the left, i.e. in all directions. 

possess the nations] (cf. Gen. xxii. 17, xxiv. 60). The reference 
• is not to be limited to the heathen who had occupied the soil of 
Palestine ; although the desolate cities in the parallel clause are 
no doubt primarily those of the holj' land. 

4 — 6. Zion shall forget her former shame in the joy of recon- 
ciliation to her God. 

4. the reproach of thy widowhood clearly refers to the period of 
the Exile when Zion regarded herself as cast off by Jehovah. 
The sense of the shame of thy youth is less obvious. Since the 
conception has some affinities wath the striking allegory in 
Ezek. xvi. it is possible that the expression goes back to the 
origin of the nation (cf. Ezek. xvi. 4 — 8); the reference being 
to the Egyptian oppression. Or is it the whole of Israel's past 
history, in contrast to its future glor>'? (Staerk.) 

5. thy Maker is thine husband] Rather : thy husband is thy 

ISAIAH LIV. 5—8 153 

of Israel is thy redeemer; the God of the whole earth 
shall he be called. For the Lord hath called thee as 6 
a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even a wife of youth, 
when she is cast off, saith thy God. For a small moment 7 
have I forsaken thee ; but with great mercies will I gather 
thee. ^In o\'erflowing wrath I hid my face from thee 8 
for a moment ; but with everlasting kindness will I have 

^ Or, III a little wrath 

Maker : He who has entered into this closest and tenderest of 
relations is none other than He who made thee. "Husband" in 
the original is a partic. ; lit. "he who marries thee"; and both 
nouns are in the plural after the analogy of words like 'ddomm 
(= lord, the so-called plural of majesty). 

thy redeemer] See on xli. 14. 

shall he he called] is he called, parallel to "is his name." The 
ground of comfort lies in the thought that He who acknowledges 
Zion as His wife is the God of the whole earth, the ruler of all 
the forces of the universe. 

6. Although Zion is temporarily estranged from Jehovah, she 
is yet a "wife of youth" holding a permanent place in her hus- 
band's affections. 

For the Lonn hath called thee] i.e. "regards thee" (as Jer. vi. 30). 

as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit] neglected by her husband, 
and left to her own bitter reflexions, but not cast off. Cf. Hos. 
iii. 3. This clause and the preceding should be transposed as in 
the Heb. : "For as a wife... doth Jehovah regard thee." 

even a wife of youth, when she is cast off] Render: and [as] 
a wife of youth- when she is in disgrace. Such an estrangement 
cannot last long : it is impossible that she should be finally 

a wife of youth] One who has been wooed and won in youth ; 
Prov. V. 18; Mai. ii. 14 f. 

7, 8. Jehovah's anger was but a momentary interruption of 
His kindness to Israel ; His mercy is everlasting. Conip. Ps. 

XXX. 5. 

7. will I gather thee] To be rendered with Dillmann, "draw 
thee to myself" (as xl. 11 ; cf. 2 Sam. xi. 27; Ps. xxvii. 10). 

8. In overflowing wrath] In an outbreak of wrath (Heb. 
shezeph kezeph). The first word does not occur elsewliere but 
ma ybe a by-foim of sheteph (cf. Prov. xxvii. 4) chosen for the 
alliterative enect. It t'ippears to have been read by the LXX. 
(iv dv/jLiv /iUKpu); and to delete it as dittography (Duhm, etc.) 
would weaken the sense. 

9. 10. The permanence of the new relation is illustrated first 
by the covenant made with Noah, of which the rainbow is the 

1,54 ISAJAH I. IV. 8—1 i 

9 mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy redeemer. ^For this 
is as the waters of Noah unto me : for as I have sworn 
that tlie waters of Noah should no more go over the 
earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with 

10 thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, 
and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not 
depart from thee, neither shall my covenant of peace be 
removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. 

11 O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not com- 
forted, behold, I will set thy stones in ^fair colours, and 

' Or, according to some ancient authorities, This is wnto me as 
the days of Noah, when I sware d>c. 
^ Or, antimony See i Chr. xxix. 2. 

perpetual token, and then by the stedfastness of the unchanging 

9. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me} Or, according to 
the reading of several MSS. and the ancient versions (though not 
the LXX.), As the days of Noah is this (i.e. the present juncture) to 
me (see marg.). The difference of reading is very slight, con- 
sisting merely in the conjunction of two words which the received 
text separates ('D*2 for ^D ^n). 

for as I have sworn etc.] as I have sworn, etc. (omitting "for" 
and reading "I'^'sn). Comp. Gen. viii. 21 f., i.x. 11 — 17. The 
absence of any mention of an oath in the narrative is immaterial. 

10. Comp. Jer. xxxi. 35 ff., xxxiii. 20 ff. ; Ps. xlvi. 2 f. 

The first sentence may be rendered concessively : Though the 
mountains should remove and the hills be shaken, yet, etc. 
my covenant of peace] Ezek. xxxiv. 2^, xxxvii. 26; ^lal. ii. 5. 
that hath compassion] as xlix. 10. 

11. 12. The outward splendour of the new Jerusalem described 
in highly figurative language; comp. Tob. xiii. 16, 17; Rev. xxi. 

11. O thou afflicted, storm-tossed, uncomforted !] An exquisite 
line ! The last two words are probably Pual participles (not 

/ will set thy stones in fair colours] Lit. in antimony (marg.). 
The image is somewhat strange. Antimony (piikh) was used by 
Oriental females as an eye-powder to blacken the edges of the 
eyehds and enhance the lustre of the eyes (2 Ki. Lx. 30; Jer. iv. 
30; comp. the name of Job's third daughter, Keren-hap-pukh, 
"horn of eye-powder," Job xhi. 14. See further Lane, Manners 
and Customs, etc. ed. 1890, pp. 29 ff.). In the figure the antimony 
would represent the costly mortar to set off the brilhancy of the 
stilL more costly stones. The avdpaKa of the LXX. seems to stand 

ISAIAH LIV. II— 14 155 

lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make 12 
thy ^pinnacles of rubies, and thy gates of carbuncles, 
and all thy border of pleasant stones. And all thy 13 
children shall be ^taught of the Lord; and great shall 
be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt 14 
thou be established: ^thou shalt be far from oppression, 
' Or, windows - Or, disciples ^ Or, be thou far 

for "]ri3 (instead of IIS), a kind of precious stone; see Ex. xxviii. 
18, etc. In I Chron. xxix. 2, where we read of "stones of ptlkh" 
(R.V. "stones for inlaid work") prepared for the Temple, the 
idea must be different ; but whether that passage has any con- 
nexion with the present image is doubtful. 

and lay thy fonndations] Lit. and found thee ; or, changing the 
vowels, and thy foundations. sapphires] Ex. xxiv. 10; 

Ez. i. 26. 

12. ihy pinnacles] The word is derived from that for "sun," 
and appears to denote those parts of the building which glitter 
in the sun's rays. (Comp. the Arab, "minaret," used primarily 
of a lantern or a lighthouse.) 

rubies] (Ezek. xxvii. 16) "sparkling" stone. 

carbuncles] (only here) "fiery" stones; although the LXX. 
renders "stones of crystal." 

all thy border] Perliaps the outer wall (the Trepireixos, see on 
ch. xxvi. i). 

13, 14. The righteousness, peace and security of the inhabi- 

13. thy children] The citizens. To avoid the repetition of the 
word at the end of the verse, some read "thy builders" here 
(see on xlix. 1-7 f.); but that gives no good sense. 

taught of the Loan] Lit. discipl 'S of Jehovah, initiated in the 
true knowledge of God, and obedient to His will. Cf. Jer. xxxi. 
34; John vi. 45. The expression is probably suggested by what 
the Servant of Jehovah says of himself in ch. 1. 4 ; the idea being 
that the citizens of the new Jerusalem shall be the spiritual seed 
of the Servant. 

14. In righteousness shalt thou be established] Lit. shalt thou 
establish th.ys2lf. Cf. Prov. xxiv. 3. ."Righteousness" may 
describe the character of the citizens, but more probably it 
means that the position of the commonwealth is unassailable 
because based on right — on conformity to the divine order (see 
V. 17). 

thou shalt be far from oppression] Lit. be thou far or (Piel) count 
thyself far from oppression, i.e. let it be far from thy thoughts. 
Here it is obvious from the context that "oppression" is not 
wrong perpetrated within the city, but external oppression which 
might be inflicted by its enemies. 

i5() ISAIAH Ll\'. 14— >7 

for tliou slialt not fear; and from terror, for it sliall not 

15 come near thee. Behold, they may ^ gather together, 
but not bv mc : whosoever shall ^ gather together agamst 

16 thee ^shail fall because of thee. Behold, I have created 
the smith that bloweth the fire of coals, and brmgeth 
forth a weapon for ^his work; and I have created the 

17 waster to destroy. No weapon that is formecl against 
thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise 
against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn. This 

' Or, 5/;> up strife - Or, shall fall away to thee 

3 Or," its 

thou shalt not fear] i.e. hast no cause to fear. 

15. The verse is extremely difficult. The rendering gathey 
together can hardly be defended, and moreover it docs not suit 
the construction ("against," in the second line, is really "with"). 
The verb is perhaps best explained as a by-form of a root meaning 
••to stir up" (strife) or pick a quarrel (Pvov. xv. 18). The sense 
would be : If (any) should stir up strife (it is) not of me ; who- 
soever stirs up strife with thee shall fall, etc. (See marg.) But 
this is only a makeshift rendering. 

fall because of thee] Or perhaps ' ' fall upf)n thee " to his own rum 
(cf. ch. viii. 14 f.). Marg. suggests "fall away to thee," i.e. go 
over to thy side, which is the sense given by some of the ancient 
versions. The phrase has this meaning in jer. xxi. 9, xxxyii. 14 
("fall away to the Chaldeans"), but it is little appropriate in this 

16, 17. No weapon formed against Zion shall prosper, because 
both the makers of weapons and those who use them are alike 
created by Jehovah, and all their activity is under His control. 

16. the smith that hloufeth the fire of coals] Cf. ch. xliv. 12. 

a weapon for his work] Kathcr, for its work, or perhaps "accord- 
ing to its work," adapted to the particular work for which it is 
intended, — a scythe for reaping, a sword for slaughter, and so 
on. The smith will turn out anything, amongst other things 
deadly weapons, but all by the permission of Jehovah who has 
made him. 

the waster to destroy] Not "to destroy the weapon that the 
smith has made"; the "waster" is the one for whose use the 
weapon is made; he also is the creature of Jehovah. 

17. Israel therefore has no cause to fear any material weapoii, 
and even the Satanic weapon of false accusations, which assail 
her righteous standing before God, she shall be able to foil. 

every tongue... thou shalt condemi'] i.e. shew to be in the wrong 
(cf. ch. 1. 8'f.). 

ISAIAH LIV. 17 157 

is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and Uheir 
righteousness which is of me, saith the Lord. 

^ Or, Iheir righteousness is of me 

This is the heritage etc.'] A concluding summary. "This," 
viz. all the blessings just enumerated, peace, righteousness,' 
security, triumph over opposition. 

of the servants of the Luiui] The title "servants of Jehovah" 
(in the plural) has not hitherto been used in the prophecy (with 
the probable exception of ch. xliv. 26, where it denotes the 
prophets). There is little probability in the suggestion that the 
ideal Servant of ch. liii. is here conceived as replaced by the 
individuals in whom his spirit is reproduced, and who form the 
"seed" which was promised to him (liii. 10, 11). 

and their righteoitsness which is of me] and (this is) their 
righteousness from me. The righteousness, or justification, 
bestowed on them by Jehovah (cf. Ps. xxiv. 5) is manifested in 
such blessedness as has just been spoken of. 

Ch. LV. a Call to Individuals to embrace the 
COMING Salvation. 

(i) vv. I — 5. A gracious invitation to the blessings of the New 

(i) Salvation freely offered to the thirsty. Addressing those 
who are engaged in the pursuit of earthly good, the prophet, in 
the name" of Jehovah, promises them the complete satisfaction 
of their wants by accepting a share in the kingdoni of God 
{vv. I, 2). 

(2) On the "condition of obedience Jehovah will make an 
everlasting covenant with them, incorporating them in the 
iVIessianic community, in which the promises made to the house 
of David shall be reahsed (vv. 3 — 5). 

(ii) vv. 6 — 13. This salvation is at hand. 

(i) The summons (vv. 1 S.) is urgent, for Jehovah is near; 
now is the day of grace when He may be sought and found, and 
when the wicked may obtain pardon through repentance (vv. 6, 7). 

(2) Jehovah is in truth near, although His thoughts and 
purposes are too exalted to be apprehended by the narrow and 
earth-bound vision of selfish men (vv. 8, 9). 

(3) Already the word has gone forth which is to renew the 
world and bring in the eternal redemption ; it shall no more 
return empty than the rain and the snow return to heaven without 
having fertili ed the earth (vv. 10, 11). 

(4) The prophet here reverts to an image frequent in the 
earlier discourses. The great deliverance is on the eve of being 
accomplished; the exiles shall go out (from Babylon) with joy. 

158 ISAIAH LV. i 

55 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, 
and he that hath no mone>- ; come ye, buy, and eat ; 
yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and witlioul 

and the noble trees which spring up along their desert route shall 
— remain as an everlasting memorial of Jehovah's power {vv. 12, 13). 
1, 2. The invitation. The message of the Gospel — its free- 
ness, its appeal to the individual, its answer to the cravings of 
the heart — is nowhere in the O.T. more clearly foreshadowed 
than in this truly evangehcal passage (cf. John iv. 10 ff., vi. 35 ff., 
vii. 37 f. ; Rev. xxi. 6, xxii. 17 ; also Prov. ix. i ff. ; Ecclus. xv. 3). 
The promises are of course not to be materialised, as if water, 
bread, wine, milk were meant literally, or merely as symbols of 
comfortable earthly existence in Palestine. At the same time 
when we seek to recover the original historical sense of the words, 
there is a possibility of spiritualising overmuch. The images 
used do, indeed, typify the blessings of salvation; but salvation 
itself in the O.T. is never without a national and therefore earthly 
element. Those here addressed are exiles (see v. 12), many of 
whom had doubtless carried out only too thoroughly the in- 
junction of Jeremiah to "build houses and dwell in them; to 
plant gardens and eat the fruit of them ; to take wives, etc." in 
Babylon (Jer. xxix. 6). They were in danger of losing their 
nationahty, and with it their religion and their own souls through 
devotion to selfish and material aims. This is the fate against 
which the prophet warns them in ti. 2 ; and the salvation he 
offers is a personal interest in the new covenant, or membership 
in the kingdom of God. To this they are freely invited, with the 
assurance that there they shall find the satisfaction and blessed- 
ness that 3 .life of worldhness can never yield. 

1. every one thai thirsteth] in" a figurative sense, primarily of 
the weariness and discontent of exile (cf. xli. 17, xliv. 3), but also 
of conscious need in general. 

come ye to the waters] The image is probably connected with 
xli. 18, the miraculous fountain opened by Jehovah for the reUef 
of His people ("wells of salvation," ch. xii. 3). A reference to 
the cry of the water-sellers in the streets of an Oriental city is 
less natural. 

and he that hath no money] In the East access to a well has 
often to be paid for. According to the Heb. accents this clause 
should be joined to the preceding, — "even he that hath no 
money" — in apposition with "thirsty." The word for buy is 
connected with a noun meaning "grain" and is only used of 
buying corn. It should probably be so understood in both 
cases here, although in the second its government extends over 
two similar objects. The last must then be rendered, 
buy corn without money, and without price wine and milk. 

ISAIAH LV. 1—3 159 

price. Wherefore do ye ^ spend money for thiat which is 2 
not bread? and your ^ labour for that which satisfieth. 
not? hearken dihgently unto me, and eat ye that which 
is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Inchne 3 
your ear, and come unto me ; hear, and your soul shall 
live ; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, 

1 Hell, weigh. - Or, earnings 

There is an obvious redundancy in the expression which seems 
to be unmetrical. Perhaps the words yea, come, buy should be 

2. Whilst the religious life is a receiving without spending, 
the worldly life is a continual spending without lasting profit 
or satisfaction. 

spend money] Lit. "weigh silver." your labour] your 

earnings (as ch. xlv. 14). 

hearken diligently etc.] Or, if ye but hearken to nie ye shall 
eat good, and your soul shall, etc. (See Davidson's Syntax, 
§ 86 c; and § 133 b) 

delight itself {ch. Iviii. 14, Ixx^i. it) z» fatness] the choicest and 
most nourishing food (cf. ch. xxv. 6). 

3 — 5. The offer of nv. t, 2 is summed up in the promise of an 
everlasting covenant. See ch. xlii. 6, xli.x. 8; and cf. Ixi. 8; 
Jer. xxxii. 40, xxxi. 31 — 33. 

3. Incline your ear etc.] The condition imposed is simply the 
consent and submission of the heart to the divine will. 

an everlasting covenant... the sure mercies of David] i.e. the 
mercies (lovingkindnesses) irrevocably promised to David and 
his house. Comp. the "lla st Words of David." 2 Sam, xxiii. 5 
("an everlasting covenant ordere£LilL_all things and secured"), 
Ps. xviii. 50 ("shewing David and to his 
seed for ever"), Ixxxix. 28 ("for ever will I keep my lovingkind- 
ness to him, and my~covenant is sure to him"), and v. 49; and 
the great promise to which all these passages point, 2 Sam. vii. 
8 — 16. The comparison of the everlasting covenant to these 
Davidic "mercies" cannot mean .simply that the one is as sure 
as the other. It is identity rather than comparison that is 
implied, the idea being that 'the contents of the covenant are 
the same as the m ercies promised to DaviQ, anci tnati t wilj be 
the fulfilment of Bie~lrop5S-^hat-Tritr§tCT'ed' Tounci the" Davidic 
dynasty. Biit an intricate qTresttrrrT-a rt s o o wi t-h— respiSct to the 
sense in which this fulfilment is to be understood in the next two 

4. 5. (a) Most modern authorities, hold that the person 
spoken of in v. 4 is the historical David, and that vv. 4 and 5 
institute a parallel between the position he occupied in the heathen 
world of his time and that which Israel shall occupy in the future ; 


the thought expressed, tliercforc, is tliat the Messianic hope is 
transferred from the dynasty to the nation. The view is thus 
s uccinc tly stated by Driver: "as l)a\id l)oc,-uiie ruler of su bject 
nations (2 §am. viii.), a kno\vlo(l^ ^e__o l' his reli^n on^ hovvciver 
iinperfeiTET spread a niouK tlTrni ; iluisTur\vas a 'witness ' f6~them. 
This position of David is idealised in Ps. xviii. 437'^Thou makcst 
me a head of nations ; a people whom I have not known shall seme 
me'); and the position, as thus idealised, is here enlarged, and 
extended in a spiritual sense to Israel (v. 5)." {Isaiah-, p. 1.5O.) 
(ft) Others think that the reference in v. 4 is to the future 
Messianic king (who is cafled David in Jer. xxx. 9 ; Ezek. xxxiv. 
23 f.j; so^fliat the two verses represent under two aspects the 
future greatness of Israel, (c) An intermediate position is taken 
by some, viz. that v. 4 goes back to the ].roniise made to David, 
but regards it as one destined to be fulfilled in the person of his 
son the M essiah. It is very difficult to decide between these 
conflicting explanations. Against {b) and (c) it is urged (i) that 
the tenses in w. 4 are perfects and are naturally understood of the 
historic past, since those of v . 5 are futures. (2) The idea of 
a personal Messiah appears nowhere else in the prophecy. (3) A 
further objection, which however savours of fastidiousness, is 
that the ISIessiah is never named David absolutely, even in Jer. 
xxx. and Ezek. xxxiv. On the other side it may be said, (i) that 
the distinction of tense is accounted for by the fact that v. 4 
speaks of what is really past (viz. Jehovah's decree concerning 
the Messiah), whereas v. 5 refers to a consequence still to be 
manifested. (2) Although the idea of the Messiah is not found 
elsewhei-e in the book, there is nothing in the prophet's con- 
ceptions inconsistent with it ; where he thinks of Israel as a 
restored nation he will naturally think of it as represented by 
a Davidic king. (3) Neither in the fundamental passa ge (2 Sam. 
vii.) nor in any of those which point back to it (2 Sam. xxiii. ; 
Ps. xviii., Ixxxix.) is anything said of David being a "witness" 
to the true religion ; and it could hardly occur to anyone to 
think of him as in the first instance a witness and in the second 
a prince. The t hird vie w (c) seems on the whole the best ; the 
original covenant guarantees an endless dominion to the family 
of David, and after the restoration this will assume a spiritual 
character and expand into universal empire in the reign of the 
Messiah. This interpretation, however, is complicated by the 
further question as to the relation of the Messiah to the Servant 
of the Lord. If the Servant be the ideal Israel there is of course 
no difficulty ; the two conceptions stand side by side and arc 
independent. Fjut individual, he is almost necessarily 
to be identified with the ideal king, although featun^ .li^' tlius 
iiitrodiiced into the portrait of the Messiah of x^'hirh • ery !fw 
traces are found in the subsequent literature, until the conception 
of Messiahship through suffering and death was realised in 

ISAIAH LV. 3—9 i6i 

even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given 4 
him for a witness to the peoples, a i leader and commander 
to the people's. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that 5 
thou knowest not, and a nation that knew not thee shall 
run unto thee, because of the Lord thy God, and for 
the Holy One of Israel ; for he hath glorified thee. 

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon 6 
him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, 7 
and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him 
return unto the Lord, and he wih have mercy upon 
him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are 8 
your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the 9 
heavens are higher" than the earth, so are my ways 
higher than your ways, and my -thoughts than your 

1 Or, pvince 

4. Behold, I have given him] Better : I have appointed him ; 
or, if we adopt the view {a) above, "I appointed him" (aorist). 

foy a ivitness] of Jehovah's power and faithfulness (cf. xliii. 10, 
xUv. 8). 

a leader'] The word yidgtd (ruler or prince) -is used m 2 Sam. 
vii. 8 of David's kingship over Israel. 

5. thou (Israel) shalt call a nation etc.] i.e. many a nation (see 
on ch. XXV. 3) hitherto unknown to thee. 

because of the Loud etc.] Cf. ch. xlix. 7 
glorified thee] Cf. xHv. 23, xlix. 3. 

6. 7. The call to repentance, because of the nearness of the 
kingdom of God. 

6. while he may be found... while he is near] in the "acceptable 
time" the "day of salvation" (ch. xlix. 8). Comp. further 
Jer. xxix. 12 — 14. 

7. the unrighteous man] Lit. "the man of evil" or falsehood. 

8. 9. Jehovah's thoughts transcend those of man as much as 
the heaven is higher than the earth. The point of the contrast 
is not the moral quality of the divine thoughts as opposed to 
those of the "wicked"; the thoncrhts and wavs o f Tehovah are 
His p urposes of redemption,' wHich are too vast and sublim e to 
be nTeasure d by the narrow conceptions of despairing liiinds 
(xl. 27 f.). Comp. Jer. xxix. 11 ('1 know the thoughts that 
I entertain towards you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to 
give you a future and a hope") : Mic. iv. 12. The verses, there- 
fore, furnish a motive not merely for repentance but also for 
eager and expectant hope. 

\Crz ISAIAH LV. 9—13 

to thoughts. For as the rain cometh down and the snow 
from heaven, and returncth not thitlicr, but watereth 
the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, and giveth 

11 seed to the sower ajid bread to the eater; so shall my 
word be that goetli forth out of my mouth : it shall not 
return unto me \-oid, but it shall accomplish that which 
I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent 

12 it. For ye shall go out with jo}^ and be led forth with 
peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth 
before you into singing, and all the trees of the field 

13 shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come 
up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up' 
the myrtle tree : and it shall be to the Lord for a name, 
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. 

10, 11. This purpose of salvation is~ embodied in the word 
which goes forth from Jehovah's mouth. The "word" is con- 
ceived as endowed with a self-fultilhng energy (see on ch. ix. 8) ; 
and its silent but irresistible efficacy is set forth by a beautiful 
comparison from nature. The same idea was expressed in 
ch. xl. 8. 

10. as the rain cometh down etc.] The image is suggested by 
"the heavens" in ?'. 9. 

but watereth'] Rather : without having watered, etc. 
seed to the sower and bread to the eater] Cf. 2 Cor. ix. 10. 

11. that goeth forth'] Rather: that has gone forth (point as 

return... voidP\ empty, having aclueved notliing, as 2 Sam. i. 22. 
but it shall accomplish] without havirg accomplished, as in v. 10. 

12. 13. The joyful exodus from Babylon; this is the "thing 
whereto Jehovah has sent" His word. 

12 ayid be led forth] by Jehovah in person, ch. xl. 10, lii. 12. 
Cf. Mic. ii. 13. 

shall clap their hands] Ps. xcviii. 8; Ezek. xxv. 6. 

13. The word for thorn occurs again only in ch. vii. 19. That 
for brier (sirpdd) is unknown. LXX. renders KJw^a (fleabane). 
All that can be said is that some desert plant is meant. On 
fir tree (cypress) and myrtle tree, see on ch. xli. 19. 

for a name ...sign] i.e. a memorial to His praise. The 
meaning appears to be that the mars'ellous vegetation so often 
alluded to as springing up in the desert as the procession of the 
redeemed passes through, shall remain throughout the future 
ages as a monument to Jehovah. It shews at least (Dillmann, 

etC.T~Eha Cth^^OnCeptinn is n nt tn hp r-c^nc^r-AaA ac a mgro pr.p tir-gl 



Chapters LVI.— LXVI. 

At this point we pass suddenly from the glowing hopes and 
aspirations of the Restoration-period, and enter upon a series of 
prophecies which seem to reflect an eqiirely different situation, 
and are now .generally held to have been written in Palestine 
about the mid dle of th e fifth century b c (see the Introduction, 
pp. xiv, xxix f.rxii ftj. inename irito-Isaiah " is a convenient 
expression, first used by D uhm,1FoFTh is theorj^of the origin of chh. 
Ivi. — Ixvi., although it must always b^ doubtful if~Duhm is right 
in assigning th is whol ^ " secLiuu uf Ihc book Lu a aiiiglt; ai ithor. 
Tlie main question is whether it can be regarded as the work 
of the Second Isaiah ; and while a negative answer to that question 
may be controvertible in respect of certain passages, we adhere 
to the opinion that these eleven chapters belong to an age con- 
siderably later than the first Return from Exile. Th e contr ast 
to the Second Isai ah is nowhere more marked than in the fi rst 
or acle of the n ew seil^b, vii.'. "^ "" 

Ch. LVI. 1 — 8. Removal of the religious Disabilities 
OF Eunuchs and Proselytes. 

(i) The passage opens with a general exhortation to righteous 
conduct and a correct religious attitude, to be manifested by a 
strict regard for the s anctity of the Sabbat h (vv. 1, 2). (2) The 
main subject of the oracle is then introduced, viz. the fears 
entertained by foreigners and eunuchs that they would be 
excluded from participation in the blessings of the covenant 
(v. 3). (3) To the latter class is promised the signal honour ol 
a monument in the Temple and a name "better than sons and 
daughters," i e. more than compensating for the loss of that 
jicrpetuation through posterity of which a cruel fate had deprived 
them ivv. 4, 5). (4) In like manner the "sons of the stranger" 
are reassured "by the confirmation of their right to a full share 
in the worship of the new Temple (vv. 6, 7 a). (5) The principle 
on which this privilege rests is stated in all its breadth and 
spirituality, viz. the destiny of the religion of Israel to supersede 
distinctions of race and to unite men of all nations in the common 
worship of the true God (vv. 7 b, 8). 

The short oracle (as has just been said) presents features which 
point to a period subsequent to the return of the first exiles from 
Babylon. The religious gtafiT^ nf f]ip twn-p1aggpg referred to 
would hardly bernmp a pffjrtiVai gnt^tr+ir.r. until the new com- 
munity was formed. The_adhesion of proselytes is spoken of 
by the Second Tsaj^|-| ^,s n "'^■'-"'-''1 ^on'iPQUpn"^" of Israel's exaltation 
(xliv. 5) ; and nothi ng that happened at the ti me of the_ release of 
the J ews is^ljkelv to nave given rise to such misgivings as are 
expressed in v. 3. Further, the most obvious inference from 
vv. J b, 8 is that the Temple is already in existence, and that 

i64 ISAIAH JAJ I—.? 

56 Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgement, and do 
righteousjicss : for my salvation is near to come, and 

2 my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man 
that doeth this, and the son of man that holdeth fast by 
it ; that keepeth the sabbath from profaning it, and 

3 keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the 
stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, 
saying, The Lord will surely separate me from his 

part of Israel has already been gathered. These indications, 
taken in conjunction with many references in chh. Ivii. ft., render 
it probable that we are here face to face with problems raised by 
the situation of the new Jewish community in Palestine. 

1. 2. The exhortation to righteousness is based on the nearness 
of Jehovah's salvation (cf. xlvi. 13, Iv. 6). righteousness occurs 
twice in v. i but in different senses. In the first case righteousness 
means conformity to the law of God (cf. Iviii. 2), in the second it 
is, as often, equivalent to salvation. The thought that salvation 
is near is as characteristic of the later chapters of this book as 
of chh. xl. — Iv. (seelvii. 14. Iviii. 8 ff., lix. 15 ff., Ix. i ff., Ixii. 6, etc.), 
but it is equally prominent in the post-exilic prophecies of 
Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The establishment of the 
Jews in their own land had not realised the glorious predictions 
connected with it in xl. — Iv. ; yet the conviction remained 
immoveable that the final act of redemption was at hand, and 
was retarded only by the sin of the people. 

2. The blessing attached to v. i extends to mankind in general 
(note the expressions man and son of man), i.e. to all who comply 
with the conditions of membership in the Jewish community. 

this and it seem to refer to what follows. 

that keepeth the sabbath from profaning it] (i.e. "so as not to 
profane it," so v. 6). The same emphasis on Sabbath observance 
appears in ch. Iviii. 13, and so in Ezek. xx. 12 ff., xxii. 8, 26 (cf. 
Jer. xvii. 19 ff.). Although one of the most ancient of Israel's 
religious institutions (Ex. xx. 8; Deut. v. 15; Am. viii. 5) the 
Sabbath acquired peculiar significance during the Exile, when 
the ordinances of public worship were suspended and the Sabbath 
and circumcision became the chief external badges of fidelity to 
the covenant of which th':y were the signs (Ex. xxxi. 13, 14; 
Ezek. XX. 12). 

from doing any evit] Such offences as are specified in Iviii. 4 ff., 
lix. 3 f. 

3. the stranger'] Lit. "the son of foreignness " : the individual 
foreigner, not one whose father was a foreigner. 

The LoTtD will surely separate] The case supposed is that of a 
foreigner who has joined himself (point as ptcp. masc.) to the 

ISAIAH LVI. 3—5 165 

people : neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry 
tree. P^or thus saith the Lord of the eunuchs that keep 4 
my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and 
hold fast by my covenant : Unto them will I give in 5 
mine house and within my walls a ^ memorial and a name 

^ Or, place Heb. hand. 

Loud, i.e. has become a proselyte by accepting the symbols of 
Jewish nationality (circumcision, etc.), but now has reason to 
fear that his qualifications will be disallowed. This anxiety is 
hardly to be explained by the law of Deut. x.xiii. 3 — S ; for the 
regulations there laid down apply only to Moabites, Ammonites, 
Egyptians and Edomites ; and the general tendency of the 
legislation is in favour of the religious rights of proselytes. (See 
the exhaustive monograph of Bertholet, Die Stelliing der Israeliten 
iind der Juden zu den Fremden, 1896.) It is more likely that the 
immediate cause of apprehension was some manifestation of an 
exclusive and intolerant spirit amongst the leaders of the new 
Jerusalem. Against this spirit the prophet's words enter a 
strong protest (see vv. 6, 7). 

the eunuch] Such persons are excluded from the congregation 
by Deut. x.xiii. i. On that passage Prof. W. R. Smith remarks 
that " Presumably the original sense of this rule was directed not 
against the unfortunate victims of Oriental tyranny and the 
harem system, but against the religious mutilation of the Galli," 
etc. (Driver's Deuteronomy, p. 259). If this be so, the present 
passage need not be regarded as superseding the Deuteronomic 
law ; it may be only a protest against its extension to cases which 
it did not contemplate ; for it is certain that those here referred 
to were "the unfortunate victims of Oriental tyranny." 

I ant a dry tree] He could not become the head of a family in 
Israel, and therefore felt that he had no real and permanent 
share in the hopes of the nation. 

4, 5. In spite of his disability the God-fearing eunuch shall be 
recognised as a worthy member of the congregation of Jehovah 
and his name shall be had in everlasting honour in the new Israel . 

4. that keep my sabbaths] For the expression, cf. Lev. xix. 3, 
30, xxvi. 2, etc. 

hold fast by my covenant] in conscientious obedience. 

5. a memorial] a monument; lit. "a hand." There seems 
no reason to doubt that the promise is to be understood literally. 
An illustration of what is meant is found in 2 Sam. xviii. i'^ 
where we read that Absalom, in the prospect of dying childless, 
erected the pillar to his owai memory which was known as 
"Absalom's hand" (cf. also i Sam. xv. 12, R.V. marg.). The 
case of those here spoken of is precisely similar. They have 
"no son to keep their name in remembrance," but their memory 

166 ISAIAH T.VI. 5—8 

^better than of sons and of daughters; I will give ^them 

6 an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also 
the strangers, that join themselves to the Lord, to 
minister unto him, and to love the name of the Lord, 
to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath 
from profaning it, and holdeth fast by my covenant ; 

7 even them will I bring to my hoh' mountain, and make 
them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings 
and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar: 
for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all 

8 peoples. The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts 

^ Or, better than f^ons and daughters - Heb. him. 

shall be perpetuated by a monument erected within the Temple 
walls ; and such a memorial, testifying to the esteem of the whole 
community, is better (and more enduring) than sons and daughters 

(™^''g)- . . . -, , . 

6, 7. The answer to the misgivings of proselytes (v. 3). 

6. to minister unto him] The verb is used of honourable 
personal service (Gen. xxxix. 4, xl. 4), and especially of the 
phestlv service of God at the sanctuary. It is found again in 
ch. Ix. 7 10, Ixi. 6. 

to love the name of the Lonii] Cf. Deut. vi. 5, xi. i, etc. 
to he his servants'] i.e. worshippers (a different word from that 
used above). 

7. F'oreigners who fulfil these conditions have full access to 
the sanctuary. 

make them joyful] "cause them to rejoice." The phrase is 
formed from a common Deuteronomic expression for taking part 
in the Temple ritual: to "rejoice before Jehovah" (Deut. xii. 7, 
12, 18, etc.). 

my house of prayer'] The Temple is the place where prayer is 
answered ; see i Kings viii. passim, esp. vv. 29 f., and 41 — 43. 

The sacrifices of proselytes are referred to in the Law: Num. 
XV. 14 ff. ; Lev. xxii. 18 ff., xvii. 8 ff. 

for mine house... peoples] Cited by our Lord, Matt. xxi. 13; 
Mark xi. 17 ; Luke xix. 46. The emphasis lies on the last words ; 
that the Temple is a "house of prayer has been already said, what 
is now added is that it shall be so to men of all nationalities. 

8. The Lord Goi>...saith] Saith the Lord Jehovah, etc. The 
formula usually follows the sentence to which it refers ; here it 
introduces it, as ch. i. 24 ; Zech. xii. i ; Ps. ex. i. 

which gathereth the dispersed of Israel] Cf. ch. xi. 12; Ps. 
cxlvii. 2. 

ISAIAH LVI. 8 167 

of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, ^ beside 
his own that are gathered. 

^ Heb. to his gathered ones. 

Yet will I gather others etc.] Lit. " I will yet further gather to 
him, to his gathered ones." "His gathered ones" is the anti- 
thesis to the "dispersed" above. The language certainly 
suggests that a partial gathering has taken place : the promise 
is that yet more shall be gathered, and, amongst these, men 
from "all peoples." 

Ch. LVI. 9 — LVII. 21. Scathing Denunciations of venal 
Rulers and an openly heathen Population ; followed 
BY a Message of Consolation to True Israelites. 

This impassioned discourse is composed of three parts : 

i. ch. Ivi. 9 — Ivii. 2. The defenceless condition of the com- 
munity, due to the unfaithfulness of its spiritual l eaders. 

(i) All the wild beasts of the field and the forest are invited 
to come and devour the unprotected flock {v. 9). (2) For its 
rulers negl ect their d utyt they are inefficient as dumb dogs, they 
are slothiui, greedy and sensual [vv. 10 — 12). (3) Inconsequence 
of their infidelity the righteous perish, none regarding their fate 
(Ivii. I, 2). 

ii. Ivii. 3 — 13. A bitter tirade against an insolent and 
aggressive paganising party, animated by a contemptuous 
hostility towards the true religion. 

(i) This party, which is characterised as a bastard race, the 
illegitimate offspring of an adulterer and a harlot, is summoned 
to the bar to hear the divine sentence on their flagrant idolatry 
(vv. 3, 4). (2)- The indictment follows, in the form of a recital 
of the varied heathen rites to which they were addicted [vv. 5 — 9), 
and in which -with infatuated perversity they still persist in spite 
of all the teachings of experience {vv. 10, 11). (3) Judgement is 
then pronounced ; Jehovah will unmask the hypocrisy of their 
pretended righteousness, and leave them to the protection of the 
false deities whom they have so diligently served, but who shall 
be unable to save them {vv. 12, 13). 

iii. vv. 14 — 21. The prophet now turns with a message of 
comfort to the depressed and contrite people of God. The 
obstacles in the way of their salvation shall be removed {v. 14); 
Jehovah, whose condescension brings Him near to the lowly in 
heart, will at length avert His anger, and bring healing and peace 
{vv. 15 — 19) ; only the wicked who persist in their impenitence are 
excluded from the promised blessing {vv. 20, 21). 

Ivi. 9 — Ivii. 2. Denunciation of the worthless rulers of the 
Jewish community. — The difficulty of supposing that this passage 
refers to the state of things Tn~fhe ExiIe~ls~obviou"s^ 'Israel is 

iu» ISAIAH I.VI. 9. lo 

All yo boasts of tlie field, U'omc to" devour, yea, all 

lo ye beasts in the forest. His watehnien are bliml, they 

ari' all without knowledge ; they are all dunii) do.^'s, lh(^\- 

^ Or, come ye to devour all the beasts in the forest 

compared to a flock in charge of its own shepherds ; and these 
shepherds are responsible both for the internal disorders from 
which it suffers, and the outward dangers which threaten it. 
An invitation to the wild beasts (the heatlien nations) to come and 
devour a people already "robbed and spoiled " (xlii. 22) by foreign 
conquest, is almost inconceivable. It is of course possible, as 
some scholars have held, that the x'crses arc extracted from a pre- 
exilic prophecy ; but the description is at least as applicable to 
the conditions which existed after the return from Babylon. 
The books of Malachi and Nehemiah reveal incidentally a state 
of affairs which would go far to account for the dark picture here 
presented of the ruhng classes in the restored community. 

9. The apostrophe to the beasts of the field may have been 
suggested by the actual ravages of wild animals in the depopulated 
country- during and after the Exile (2 Kings xvii. 25) ; it leads up 
to the following comparison of the people to an ill-guarded and 
therefore defenceless flock. That a new chastisement at the 
hands of the heathen is contemplated need not be assumed ; the 
image stands for divine punishment in general. A close parallel 
even in expression is found in Jer. xii. 9 ; cf. Ezek. xxxiv. 5, 8. 
The verse is correctly rendered in R.V. : the Heb. accentuation 
wrongly unites "devour" with what follows, making one class of 
wild beasts devour the other ! 

10 — 12. The dph'n qiienries of the rulers. The watchmen are 
th e spiritual leaders of the commu nity, who in the earlier post- 
exiiic period were the priests and the prophets (see Neh. vi. 
10 — 14). Elsewhere the word is used metaphorically only of the 
prophets (Jer. vi. 17 ; Ezek. iii. 17, xxxiii. 2 ff.) and to them the 
description here chiefly applies, although there may be no reason 
for excluding the priests, with whom the higher authority lay, 
and who shared in the vices here specified. These guides are 
blind, not discerning the evils of the time, and dumb, afraid to 
speak out against them. 

10. they are all without knowledge] Lit. " they all of them know 
not." Several codices of the LXX. supply an infinitive (^poi'^crat). 
by which the sense and parallelism are improved (cf. the similar 
phrase in v. 11, "they know not how to observe" : E V. "cannot 

dumb dogs, they cannot bark] in contrast to the true prophet, 
who "cries aloud and spares not," shewing the people their 
transgressions (see ch. Iviii. i ; cf. Ezek. xxxiii. i ff.), and specially 

ISAIAH T.VI. lo— 12 T69 

cannot bark; dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber. 
Yea, the dogs are greedy, they can never have enough ; 1 1 
and these are shepherds that cannot understand : they 
have all turned to their own way, each one to his gain, 
ifrom every quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch 12 
wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink ; and 
to-morrow shall be as this day, a day great- beyond 

' Or, one and all 

gives warning of the approach of an enemy ; Ezek. xxxiii. 6. 
Sheep-dogs are mentioned in Job xxx. t. 

dreaming] Better: raving. The word, which occurs only here, 
means in Arabic to talk deliriously in sickness. Cheyne has 
suggested that it contains a play on the word for "seers," from 
which it dil^fers in a single letter (hozhn and Jidzfm). 

loving to slumber'] The laziness of the dog was proverbial 
amongst the Arabs: "he delays like a sleepy hound" (Gesenius). 

11. The first line reads, And the dogs are greedy (lit. "strong 
of soul," i.e. appetite), they know not how to be satisfied. The 
charge of cupidity and of selling oracles for gain is one frequently 
brougli r'agarnsTtlrs-fafee prophe ts (Mic. in. 5, 11; Jer. vi. 13; 
Ezek. xiii. ig, xxii. 25); a contemporary instance may be the 
incident of Shemaiah (Neh. vi. 10 ff.). That the priesthood was 
infected with the same vice of covetousness is shewn by Mai. i. 
12 ; on the upper classes generally see Neh. v. 7 ff. 

and these are shepherds etc.] It is not easy to obtain a satis- 
factory sense Cheyne renders "and these, pastors as they are," 
taking "pastors" in the figurative sense of rulers. Dillmann 
with a shght change of the text reads "and even these, the 
shepherds," supposing that a class of persons diffeient from the 
"watchmen"" (prophets) are now spoken of, viz. the nobles and 
elders. The simplest view is that the claase is circumstantial: 
"though they (the persons designated by the previous metaphor) 
are shepherds." 

they have all turned io their own ivay] All pursue their selfish 
interests (cf. liii. 6). 

jrom every quarter] Render : v/ithout exception, as Ezek. xxv. 
9 ; Gen. xix. 4. The word, however, is not in LXX., and disturbs 
the metre. 

12. As an illustration of their highest idea of enjoyment, one 
of these watchmen is introduced inviting his fellows to a pro- 
longed carousal. Cf. ch. v. 11 f., 22, xxviii. i, 7 f . ; Mic. ii. 11 
This verse is not found in the LXX. 

we will fill ourselves etc.] A coarse bacchanalian expression : 
"we will swill strong drink." 
great beyond measure] A separate exclamation 

I70 ISAIAH TA'II. i, 2 

57 The righteous perishctli. and no man hlyeth it to heart ; 

and Miicrciful men are taken away, none considering 

that the righteous is taken away ^from the evil to come. 

2 He entereth into peace; they rest in their beds, each 

one that walketh ^in his uprightness. 

' Or, godly - Or, through wickedness ^ Or, straight before him 
Ivii. 1, 2. The most alarming feature of the situation, though 
the least noticed, is the gradual removal of the righteous members 
of the community. (Comp. Ps. xii. i.) The older generation, 
who had retained sometliing of the religious traditions of the 
Return and the rebuilding of the Temple (in 521), were passing 
away one by one, unlamentcd by a degenerate and apostate age. 

1. merciful men] men of piety (cf. ch. Iv. 7, xxviii. 14). 

none considering that the righlcous is taken away from the evil to 
come] The idea conveyed by this rendering is that the natural 
death of many good men was a divine intimation, little heeded 
by the community, that some great calamity was impending. 
The translation is perfectly admissible, and the thought is in 
accordance with the religious sentiment of the O.T. (cf. 2 Ki. 
xxii. 20) ; but we are not entitled to read so much into the 
prophet's language here. There is nothing to indicate that "the 
evil" is future, nor is it likely that the prophet has in view a 
future of terror for the righteous. The clause may be equally 
well rendered For the righteous is swept away before the evil ; 
and this is perhaps all that is meant, dthough the idea that 
death is a release to the righteous seems to be implied in what 
follows. The "evil" is the prevailing wickedness and oppression 
caused by the misgovernment described in Ivi. 10 — 12. The words 
"none considering" are parallel to "no man layeth it to heart," 
and a new distich is commenced with the word " For," thus — 

For the righteous is swept away before the evil ; he enters 
into peace : 

They rest in their beds, each one that walked in uprightness. 
The "peace" and "rest" spoken of are those of the grave (Job 
iii. 13 ff.), the "bed" is the bier or coffin; cf. 2 Chron. xvi. 14; 
Ezek. .xxxii. 25. The same word is used of the sarcophagus in 
the Phoenician inscription of Eshmunazar ("the lid of this bed"). 
The same feeling ("After life's fitful fever he sleeps well") is 
expressed wdth great pathos in an eloquent passage of the book 
of Job (iii. 13 ff.). It is a sentiment that has appealed to the 
human mind in all ages; but to the O.T. believers it brought no 
relief from the shuddering recoil from death expressed in other 
passages, nowhere more forcibly than in the words of Job himself. 

2. each one that walketh etc.] i.e. every one who led a simple, 
straightforward, upright life; cf. Prov. iv. 25 — 27. The clause 
is an extension of the subject of the sentence. 

ISAIAH LVII. 3, 4 171 

But draw near hitJier, ye sons of the sorceress, the 3 
seed of the adulterer and the whore. Against whom do 4 

3 — 13. Invective against an idolatrous party. — With regard 
to the reference of this obscure and dilhcult passage the following 
points have to be noticed : (i) The scenery of vv. 5, 6 is unmistake- 
ably Palestinian (wadis. clefts of the rock, terebinths). (2) Several 
of the rites specified bear the complexion of Canaamtish heatliCTi- 
ism, and could not have been performed^ in TSabylonia. {3) The 
opening words (" But ye ") seem to imply that the people addressed 
are distinct from those whose leaders are denounced in hi. 10 — 12. 
(4) Those spoken of are animated by contempt and hatred of the 
cause and people of Jehovah {v. 4), while at the same time they 
advance pretensions to "righteousness" or correctness of religious 
standing (v. 12). (5) They have persisted in their abominations 
down to the time of the prophecy {vv. 10 — 13). 

The concentrated bitterness of the writer's language goes 
beyond anything in the pre-exilic prophets, and is most in- 
telligible on the supposition that those addressed are regarded 
as "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel." There is some 
plausibility in Duhm's view _ that the party addressed _is the 
Samaritan community. This theorj- is at all events simpler than 
that advocated by the majority of earlier critics, who felt the 
force of the objections against exilic authorship, and accordingly 
supposed that the passage (or its original) was written at some 
time previous to the Captivity and borrowed by the great prophet 
of the Exile as a warning against idolatrous tendencies which still 
manifested themselves in Babylon. (See further Introduction; 
pp. xviii f., xxix f.) The passage, however, may rather refer to a 
paganised Judean population, closely akin to the Samaritans 
of the North, and cultivating friendly relations with them. 
There was a serious danger that the struggling Jewish com- 
munity founded by the returned exiles should be dragged down 
to the level of their semi-pagan neighbours. 

3, 4. Indignant summons to the apostate community. 

3. But draw near hither] Better : But as for you, draw near 
hither, etc., to hear your doom (cf. xli. i, xlv. 20, xlviii. 16). 

ye sons of a sorceress'] The most galling insult to an Oriental is 
to re\'ile his mother (see i Sam. xx. 30). By the use of the phrase 
here the persons addressed are described as nursed in witchcraft 
and superstition. 

seed 0/ an adulterer and a whore] Cf. Ezek. xvi. 3, 45 ("thy 
father an Amorite, thy mother a Hittite"). The words are not 
to be pressed as containing a specific allusion to the mixed origin 
of the Samaritans (2 Ki. x\ai. 24 ff.); they simply describe the 
degenerate character of the idolatrous religion to which these 
apostate Israelites were addicted. 

172 ISAIAH LVII. 4—6 

yo sport yoiii-seh-cs? against whom make yo a \vi(l<> 
mouth, and chaw out the tongue? are ye not chilchcn 

5 of transgression, a seed of falsehood, ye that inflame 
yourselves ^ among the oaks, under every green tree; 
that slay the children in the valleys, under the clefts of 

6 the rocks? Among the smooth stones of the valley is 

' Or, with idols 

4. On the contemptuous attitude of the Samaritans towards 
the Jews, see Neh. iv. i — 4, and comp. ch. Ixvi. 5. 

sport yourselves] Lit. "take your delight" (ch. Iv. 2, Iviii. 14, 
Ixvi. 11; Ps. xxxvii. 4, 11, ctc.\- only here used of malevolent 

make ye a wide nwitlh] Ps. xxxv. 21. 

are ye not etc.] Are you not yourselves the proper objects of 
derision and abhorrence? 

5 — 13. Description of the va^ried idolatries to which they were 
devoted, partly based, it would seem, on Jer. ii. 18 ff. 

5. ye that inflame yourselves among the oaks] (or "terebinths," 
the same word in ch. i. 29, Ixi. 3). The marg. and A.V. follow 
the chief ancient Versions in taking the last word to be the plural 
of that for "god"; but it is never used expressly of an idol or 
false god (not even in Ex. xv. 11 or Dan. xi. 36). The reference 
is, if not to actual primitive tree-worship (traces of which are 
still found in Palestine), at least to that modification of it in 
which the sacred tree became a place of sacrifice and the scene 
of the licentious rites indicated by the expression "inflame your- 
selves." Comp. Hos. iv. 13. 

under every green (i.e. evergreen) tree] Cf. Deut. xii. 2; Jer. ii. 
20, iii. 6; Ezek. vi. 13; i Ki. xiv. 23; 2 Ki. xvii. 10, etc 

that slay the children (Ezek. xvi. 21)] i.e. sacrifice them either 
to Jehovah or some false deity (Baal or Molech). On the subject 
of human sacrifice in Israel consult the notes in Davidson's 
Ezekiel (Camb. Bible for Schools), pp. 107 f., 143. Cf. Jer. vii. 
31, xix. 5; Ezek. xx. 25, xxiii. 39; 2 Ki. iii. 27, xvi. 3, xxi. 6; 
Mic. vi. 7; Lev. xviii. 21 ; Deut. xii. 31, etc., and 2 Ki. xvii. 31. 

in the valleys (or wadis, dry watercourses), under the clefts of the 
rocks] Probably weird and desolate places were chosen by 
preference for these revolting rites, although this is the only 
passage where such a thing is suggested. 

6. As commonly explained, the verse refers to the wor.ship of 
stone fetishes; but this is very doubtful. It is obvious, indeed, 
that by the smooth (ones) of the wadi some objects of worship 
are denoted, but is it necessary to suppose that they were smooth 
stones} The expression "smooth ones" (halke) is chosen for the 
sake of a play of words between it and "portion" (helek). If we 

ISAIAH LVII. G— 8 173 

thv portion ; they, they are thy lot : even to them hast 
thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered ^an obla- 
tion. Shall I be appeased for these things? Upon a 
high and lofty mountain hast thou set thy bed : thither 
also wentest thou up to offer sacrifice. And behind the 
doors and the posts hast thou set up thy memorial : for 

1 Or, a meal offering 

take it literally it is natural to think of stones worn smooth by 
the winter torrents (of. i Sam. xvii. 40), although even then there 
is force in Duhm's observation that such featureless objects were 
least of all likely to be chosen as fetishes. (See Tylor, Primitive 
Culture^, Vol. 11. p. 144 f.) But the word occurs in the meta- 
phorical sense of "slippery," flattering, deceitful (Ezek. xii. 24; 
cf. Prov. vii. 5, 21, xxix. 5 ; Ps. v. 9, etc.) ; and such a term might 
be applied to false gods of any kind (cf. e.g. "lies" in Am. ii. 4). 
We may therefore render (following Duhm), "In the deceivers of 
the wadi is thy portion" ; but the whole clause remains obscure. 

thy portinti] As Jehovah is the portion of His people (Deut. 
iv. 19; Jer. X. 16; Ps. xvi. 5, cxlii. 6) so these deceitful beings 
are the portion of those who do homage to them in the manner 
described in the second half of the verse. 

thou hast offered an oblation] See on ch. i. 13. 

Shall I be appeased for these things?] i.e. "leave them un- 
punished." Cf. Jer. v. 9 

Note that from this verse onwards the female personification is 
employed, indicating that a definite community is addressed. 

7. As in the valleys, so on the hill-tops, the people had 
sacrificed to strange gods. Cf. Hos. iv. 13; Jer. ii. 20; Ezek. 
vi. 13. Is it possible that the Samaritan worship on Gerizim is 
referred to? 

hast thou set thy bed] The image is suggested by the frequent 
comparison of idolatry (in Israel) to adultery. Cf. Hos. iv. 12; 
Jer. ii. 20, iii. 2 ; Ezek. xvi. 25. 

8. The first part of this very obscure verse seems to allude to 
some form of household idolatry. Many commentators explain 
the expression as a violation of the command in Deut. vi. 9, xi. 20. 
In these passages the Israelites are directed to write certain 
sentences of Scripture on the doorposts of their houses, and it is 
supposed that the practice here denounced is placing the texts 
at the back of the door so as to be out of sight ! This is an utterly 
improbable interpretation. The thing called memorial must •be 
some heathen emblem, whose exact nature cannot be determined ; 
and from the fact that it stood at the entrance of the house, it 
may be presumed to have represented the patron deity of the 
family. Duhm thinks that a phallus-image is meant, comparing 
Ezek. xvi. 17. 

174 ISAIAH L\ll. 8, 9 

thou hast discovered thyself to anothur than mc, and art 

gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee 

a covenant with them; thou lovedst their bed where 

9 thou sawest it. And thou wentcst to the king with 

for thou hast discovered... bed] The last word appears to be the 
object to each of the three verbs : for away from me thou hast 
uncovered and ascended and enlarged thy bed. The connexion 
("for") may he in the thought tluit they sought every possible 
opportunitj^ of being unfaithful to Jehovah, their household 
cults being but one expression of their inveterate inclination to 

and made thee a covenant with them etc.] The sense is uncertain : 
either, "and thou hast made a contract with them," etc. (?); or, 
substituting a verb meaning "purchase" (nDm for rnDiTl) 
(Deut. ii. 6; Hos. iii. 2), "and thou didst procure for thee (some) 
of those whose bed thou lovest." For the idea, cf. Ezek. xvi. 
i6ff., 32ff. 

where thoit sawest it] Lit. "thou hast viewed a hand." The 
rendering of E.V. cannot be maintained, but the real meaning of 
the expression is altogether obscure. That the word "hand" 
denotes the membrum virile "is the merest conjecture" (W. R. 

9. Pilgrimages and deputations to the shrines of foreign deities 
form a fitting conclusion to the enumeration of their idolatries. 
Another view taken of the \erse is that it refers to pohtical 
embassies sent to court the favour of some great heathen power. 
This idea derives support from the resemblance of the passage 
to Ezek. xxiii. 16, 40, but it is out of keeping with the other 
allusions of the verse. Oil and ointment have nothing to do 
with politics ; on the other hand unguents of varioU^s kinds 
played a great part in the cultus of the Semites. (See W. R. 
Smith, Religion of the Semites^, pp. 232 f., 382 f.) And the last 
line of the verse is most naturally explained as an allusion to 
infernal deities. 

And thou wentest to the king etc.] Rather: And thou hast 
journeyed to Melek with oil. "Melek" means king, and is here 
understood by many of the Great King of Assyria or Babylon 
(by Kennett of Antiochus Epiphanes). But for the reasons 
given above it is necessar\' to explain it as the name of a deity. 
It is, in fact, the word which has come to us in the Hebrew Bible 
under the form Molech, its proper vowels having been replaced 
in*Je\sish tradition by those of bosheth, "shameful thing." (See 
W. R. Smith, I.e. p. 372.) It was a title appHed by the Northern 
Semites to many gods, and even (among the Israelites) to Jehovah, 
as "king." Here it seems to be used as a proper name, and the 
verb "journey" shews that a foreign god is meant; possibly, as 

ISAIAH LVII. 9—11 175 

ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst 
send thine ambassadors far off, and didst debase thyself 
even unto ^hell. Thou wast wearied with the length of 10 
thy way ; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope : thou 
didst find ^ a quickening of thy strength ; therefore thou 
wast not ^ faint. And of whom hast thou been afraid 11 
and in fear, that thou liest, and hast not remembered 

' Heb. Sheol. - Heb. fJie life of thine hand. 

' Heb. sick. 

Duhni thinks, Milkom, the chief god of che Ammonites. The 
word for "journey," however, is very uncertain; Cheyne amends 
so as to read: "And thou anointedst thyself for Melek." 

thy perfumes] Or. ointments. 

and didst send thine ambassadors far off] To distant shrines, 
whither they could not go in person, they sent messengers with 

and didst debase thyself even unto hell] Rather : and hast sent 
deep to Sheol (lit. "hast deepened [sc. thy sending] to Sheol"), 
i.e. they sought the favour of the deities of the under-world, by 
consulting their oracles, etc. 

10, 11. Although wearied by these idolatries they have per- 
sisted in them with an infatuation which has blinded them to 
their desperate situation, and rendered them indifferent to the 
fear of Jehovah. 

10. with the length of thy way] i.e. "through thy much 
wandering," thy multifarious religious observances. 

There is no hope] Lit. " desperatum est"; cf. Jer. ii. 25, 
xviii. 12 (with a somewhat different shade of meaning). 

thou didst find a quickening of thy strength] A very obscure and 
variously explained phrase. R.V. gives perhaps the most feasible 
interpretation, but the peculiar expression is hardly accounted 
for, unless it be a current proverb. 

thou wast not faint] Lit. sick, weak and faint. Comp. Jer. v. 3, 
"Thou hast smitten them and they did not become sick," i.e. did 
not feel weak. 

11. Most critics detect in this verse a milder tone on the part 
of the divine speaker, as if He would find a partial excuse for the 
apostasies of the people in their undue fear of otiier gods, and 
distrust of Jehovah, who had so long time kept silence (cf. ch. li. 
12 f., xlii. 14). If this impression be right, the theory that a race 
akin to the Samaritans are addressed at once falls to the ground. 
Another view is, however, more probable. The question of whom 
hast thou been afraid and feared? may imply a simple negative 

. answer, — "thou hast been absolutely fearless." 
that thou liest] Or, "for thou art treacherous." 

176 ISAIAH l,\ll. M— 14 

me, nor laid it to tliy heart? have not 1 lield my peace 

12 even of long time, and thou fearest me not? I Vi^ill 
declare thy righteousness; and as for thy works, they 

13 shall not proht thee. When thou criest, let Uhem which 
thou hast gathered deliver thee ; but the wind shall take 
them, a breath shall carry them all away : but he that 
putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall 

14 inherit my holy mountain. And ^he shall say. Cast ye 

'■ Or, thy rabble of idols ^ Or, it shall be said 

have vol I held my peace etc.] Better : Is it not so ? I have been 
silent, etc. : " It was because I held my peace that thou didst not 
fear me, but other gods." Cf. Ps. 1. 21 ("These things thou didst 
and 1 kept silence"). 

even of long time] Cf. .xlii. 14. The LXX. and Vulg. vocalised 
the word differently (O'^l^O for D^yp), so as to read "and covered 
(sc. my eyes)" (cf. Ps. x. i ; Isa. i. 15). This is evidently the 
true readmg. 

12, 13. But Jehovah will no longer be silent ; He will proceed 
to judgement (cf. again Ps. 1. 21). 

12. / will declare thy righteousness] nmst be spoken ironically : 
"I will expose thy (pretended) righteousness." This might be 
said of the Samaritans, who claimed to be true worshippers of 
Jehovah just as ancient Israel had always done (Ezra iv. 2). 

and as for thy works etc.] Render simply : and tliy works, in 
apposition with "thy righteousness." 

13. When thou criest, ...deliver thee] Cf. Jer. ii. 28. The first 
three words should probably be joined to the previous verse (see 
below). The word for them which thou hast gathered, marg. thy 
rabble (of idols), does not occur elsewhere. LXX. (ec ttj OM-^d aor) 
seems to have read "jm^^ : and although the textual divergence 
is hard to explain, this reading undoubtedly yields better sense 
and parallelism (s > Whitehouse). The lines will run thus : 

(12) I will declare thy righteousness — and thy works; 

They shall not profit thee (13) when thou criest — [nor] 
deliver thee in thy Affliction. 
The second half of the verse forms a transition to the next 
section, which is a promise of salvation to the true Israel. 

14 — 21. In striking contrast to the menacing tone of vv. 3 ff. 
is the impressive and elevated language in which the prophet 
now sets forth the gracious thoughts of Jehovah towards His 
erring but repentant people. 

14. And he shall say] Or, And it shall be said (marg.). The 
speaker is Jehovah ("my people"), not one of the angelic beings 
of the Prologue. The expression means simply '' the word shall 
go forth." 

ISAIAH LVII. 14, 15 177 

up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbhng- 
block out of the way of my people. 

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth 15 
eternity, whose name is Holy : I dwell in the high and holy 
place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, 
to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart 

The image of the highway of salvation is taken from ch. xl. 3 
(see also Ixii. 10), but seems to be applied somewhat differently. 
There it meant an actual highway for the return of the exiles 
through the desert ; here, as the context shews, it is only a figure 
for the removal of spiritual obstacles to the redemption of Israel 
{v. 17). Such a modification of the conception, although of 
course no proof of post-exilic authorship, is certainly very in- 
telligible on that hypothesis. After the return of the first band 
of exiles it became apparent that the inauguration of the Messianic 
age was not to take the form of a triumphal march of Jehovah and 
His people across the desert to Canaan. The prophet's bold image 
of the miraculous highway necessarily lost its primary physical 
significance, and could be retained only as an emblem of the 
preparation for that larger deliverance to which the hopes of 
the post-exilic community were eagerly directed. It is apphed, 
in short, in precisely the same way as at a later time to the 
preparatory mission of the Baptist (Mark i. 3; John i. 23). 

15. high and lifted up] An Isaianic phrase, ch. ii. 12 &.. vi. i 
(cf. lii. 13). 

that inhabiteth eternity'] Rather: "that sitteth (enthroned) for 

/ dwell in the high and holy place] The strict rendering is "on 
high and Holy (as a holy One) I dwell." Cf. Ixvi. i. 

of a contrite and humble spirit] crushed and of a lowly spirit. 
The expressions do not necessarily imply what we mean by 
contrition — the crushing effect of remorse for sin — but only the 
subdued, self-distrusting spirit which is produced by affliction. 
Comp. ch. Ixvi. 2; Ps. li. 17. 

The word "holy" (here used as a proper name, see on ch. xl. 25) 
and the expressions "high and lofty" seem to shew the influence 
of Isaiah's vision (ch. vi.).^ The thougljt of the verse is very 
striking. It is the paradox of religion that Jehovah's holiness, 
which places Him at an infinite distance from human pride and 
greatness, brings Him near to the humble in spirit (comp. Ps. cxiii. 
5, 6, cxxxviii. 6). No contrast is indicated: Jehovah dwells on 
high and (not but yet) with the lowly. It would be a mistake, 
however, to infer that holiness means or even includes gracious 
condescension. The two attributes are not mutually exclusive, 
but still less are they identical. The holiness of God is expressed 
by saying that He dwells on high ; His dwelling with the contrite 


i7« ISAIAH LVll. 15—17 

M) ol the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, 
neither will I be always wroth : for the spirit should ^fail 

17 before nie, and the souls which 1 liax'e made. For the 
iniquity of his co\etousness was I wroth and smote him, 
I hid my face and was wroth : and he went on ^frowardly 

' Or, faint away - Heb. turning away. 

is anothei- fact which manifests a different aspect of His character. 
Through the disci phne of the Exile Israel had come to know God 
in both characters — as infinitely exalted and infinitely con- 
descending; it had learned that peace with God, the high and 
lofty One, is reached through humihty, which is tiie recognition 
of His holiness and majesty. 

16. Hardly less remarkable is the motive here assigned for the 
divine clemency, — Jehovah's compassion for the fi'ailty of His 
creatures (Ps. ciii. 9, 13 f., Ixxviii. 39). The argument somewhat 
resembles that of ch. xlv. 18 ff. : it carmot be Jehovah's purpose 
to undo His own creation. The continuance of His anger would 
annihilate the souls which He Himself has made ; therefore when 
chastisement has produced the contrite and humble spirit, He 
relents and shews mercy. 

The word for souls is that which in Gen. ii. 7 means " breath 
(of life)," the principle of life in virtue of which man becomes 
"a hving person" (cf. ch. xUi. 5). The parallel spirit has the 
same sense; it is the divine power by which human life is 

17. For the iniquity of his covetousness] The mention of 
" covetousness " as the typical sin of the community here addressed 
affords some support to the theory that the post-exilic Jews are 
referred to. See Hag. i. 2, 9; Mai. i. 8, 13, 14, iii. 8; Neh. v. 
These passages shew that a sordid, avaricious spirit was character- 
istic of the returned exiles, although on the other hand Jer. vi. 13 
shews that it was prevalent before the Captivity (cf. Ezek. 
xxxiii. 31). The same feature is touched on in ch. Ivi. 11 and 
in ch. Iviii. The significant thing is that it is specified as the 
besetting sin of the time, and this again appears to indicate that 
the people spoken of are distinct from those who were guilty of 
the more heinous offences enumerated in vv. 5 — 9. 

covetousness is strictly "gain" (Gdn. xxxvii. 26); then unjust 

/ hid my face and was wroth] hiding myself in my wrath (lit. 
"hiding and being wroth"; see Davidson's Syntax, § 87, R. i). 
The impfs. should be pointed with Vau consec. 

and he went on frowardly] (cf. Jer. iii. 14, 22, xxxi. 22, xlix. 4), 
lit. "turning away" (marg.). The meaning can hardly be that 
the effect of punishment was to harden the people in sin, and 
that therefore Jehovah desists from it The clause does not give 

ISAIAH LVII. 17—21 179 

in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will 18 
heal him: I will lead him also, and 1 restore comforts 
unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the 19 
lips : Peace, peace, to him that is far off and to him that 
is,near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him. But the 20 
wicked are like the troubled sea ; for it cannot rest, and 
its waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, 21 
saith my God, to the wicked. 

1 Heb. recompense. 

the consequence of the chastisement, but continues the descrip- 
tion of the sinful Hfe of the people which had drawn forth the 
divine anger. 

18. / have seen his ways] Either "his sinful ways" or "the 
amendment of his ways." The first view is more probable, in 
which case the words would be better joined to the preceding 
verse followed by "saith Jehovah" from v. 19 (Duhm). See on 
V. 19. 

and will heal him] Or, "And I will heal him," — beginning a 
new sentence. Cf. Hos. vi. i, xiv. 4; Jer. iii. 22. 
For comforts read comfort. 
and to his mourners] (ch. Ixi. 2, Ixvi. 10). 

19. / create the (or Creating i fruit of the lips] "Fruit of the 
lips" means praise and thanksgiving, as Hos. xiv. 2 (Heb. xiii. 15). 
Jehovah will create this, cause it to spring forth spontaneously, 
from those who at present are dumb with sorrow. 

Peace, peace to the far off, etc.] The words are still under the 
government of the verb "create." The contrast of the "far off" 
and the "near" is probably that between the Jews still in exile, 
and those who have returned and are "near" to Jerusalem (cf. 
ch. Ivi. 8). 

saith the 'Lord ; and I will heal him'] These words are obviously 
out of place here. According to Duhm they are a marginal 
variant to the similar clause in v. 18, where "saith Jehovah" had 
been accidentally omitted. 

20. 21. Their peace is contrasted with the eternal unrest of 
the wicked. For the image cf. Jude 13. 

20. for it cannot rest] as Jer. xlix. 23. 

21. There is no peace etcJ] See on ch. xlviii. 22. 

Ch. TVIII. An Oracle on Fasting and the Observance 
OF THE Sabbath. 

(i) The prophet announces his commission to expose the sin 
of his people, especially the formal and perfunctory character of 
their religious service {vv. i, 2). (2) He then takes up the 

i8o ISAIAH L\ III. 1 

58 Ciy ^ aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, 
and declare unto my people their transgression, and to 
' Heb. with the throat. 

question of fasting, which is the immediate occasion of the 
discourse ; in answer to the complaint that their fasts are dis- 
regarded by Jehovah (v. 3 a), he asks his hearers if they suppose 
that the kind of fasting practised by them can possibly he 
acceptable to God {vv. 3 h — 5). (3) In contrast to such un- 
spiritual and hypocritical fasting as theirs, he indicates the 
nature of the fast required by Jehovah, which consists in justice 
to the oppressed and kindness to the destitute (vv. 6, 7). (4) When 
they understand what true religion is and comply with its require- 
ments, their salvation shall no longer tarry, their prayers shall 
be answered, their darkness turned to light, and the waste places 
of the land restored (vv. 8 — 12). (5) A similar promise is 
attached to the hallowing of the Sabbath-day (vv. 13, 14). 

Although only one statutory fast is known to the Law— that 
of the great Day of Atonement (Lev. xvi. 29)— the practice was 
readily and spontaneously resorted to in ancient Israel as a means 
of propitiating the Deity (cf. e.g. Jud. xx. 26; i Sam. vii. 6; 
I Ki. xxi. 12; Jer. xxxvi. 9). Similarly, at a date perhaps only 
a little later than this chapter, the Jewish colony of Yeb, when 
their temple was destroyed by the Egyptians, instituted a fast. 
During the Exile four regular fast-days came to be observed ; 
and it is all but certain that these commemorated special in- 
cidents of the fall of Jerusalem (see the Commentaries on Zech. 
viii. 19). It is probable that such fasts as these, rather than the 
fjist of the Day of Atonement (which maj- not have been instituted 
at this time), gave rise to the complaint dealt with in this pro- 
phecy. That the mind of the post-exilic community was exercised 
about these fasts appears from Zech. vii. i ff., a passage which 
presents an instructive parallel to that now before us. The 
question was put to the priests and prophets in Jerusalem whether 
the fast-daj's should not after seventy years' observance be dis- 
continued (vii. 3, 5); and Zechariah replies that if the people 
■\vill give heed to the divine admonitions through the "former 
prophets" and practise righteousness and mercy, the Messianic 
promises shall be fulfilled, and then the fasts shall be turned 
into days of rejoicing (viii. 19). The answer, in short, is practi- 
cally identical with the teaching of this chapter. It is of course 
not impossible that the question of fasting might have been 
raised during the Exile and answered as it is answered here ; 
but there is nothing in the chapter that can be appealed to in 
favour of this view. 

1. Cry aloud] Lit. Cry with the throat, witli the full power of 
the voice. 

declare unto my people their transgression etc.] The function 


the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, 2 
and dehght to know my ways: as a nation that did 
righteousness, and forsook not the ^ordinance of their 
God, they ask of me righteous ordinances, they dehght 
to draw near unto God. Wherefore have we fasted, say 3 
they, and thou seest not ? ivherefore have we afflicted our 
soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the 
day of your fast ye find yotir own pleasure, and ^ exact 

^ Or, judgement " Or, oppress all your labourers 

of the true prophet as distinguished from the false ; see Mic. iii. S, 
a verse which seems to have been in the prophet's mind. 

2. The people indeed are zealous in the performance of their 
external religious duties, and imagine that this suifices to put them 
in a right relation to God. They are ostensibly as eager to know 
the divine will as if they were in reality, and not merely in pro- 
fession, a people that practised righteousness. A strained inter- 
pretation has been put upon the verse by many modern commen- 
tators, who suppose that it refers to the people's desire for a 
speedy manifestation of Jehovah's righteousness in their favour. 
This feeling was no doubt in their minds, but it is not expressed 
here (see below). 

Yet] The opening copula has here concessive force = " Doubt- 

fhev seek me] i.e. inquire of me, — the word used of consulting 
an oracle. 

righteous ordinances] Not "righteous judgements" on the 
enemies and oppressors of Israel, but ordinances of righteousness 
i.e. directions as to how righteousness is to be achieved. 

they delight to draw near unto God] Cf. ch. xxix. 13 ; Ps. Ixxiii. 
28 To render "in the approach of God (to judgement)" is 
arbitrary, and unsuited to the verb "delight." 

3. The first half of the verse expresses the people's sense of 
disappointment at the failure of their efforts to win the favour of 
Jehovah ; the second half begins the prophet's exposure of their 
hypocrisy. There is an incipient Pharisaism in their evident 
expectation that by external works of righteousness they would 
hasten the coming of the Messianic salvation. The prophet also 
maintains that salvation is conditioned by righteousness on the 
part of the people; but he insists that the righteousness which 
secures the fulfilment of the promises is ethical righteousness 
not the mechanical observance of ceremonial forms. 

have we afflicted our soul] See below on v. 5. 

ye find your own pleasure] Rather: business (see on ch. xliv. 
28), "you find opportunity to do a profitable stroke of business." 
Cf y 13. 

i82 ISAIAH LVIir. 3— r, 

4 all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and con- 
tention, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ^ye 
fast not this day so as to make your voice to be heard on 

5 high. Is such the fast that I have chosen ? the day for 
a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head 
as a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? 
wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the 

6 Lord ? Is not this the fast that I have chosen ? to loose 

1 Or, ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make <j>c 

and exact all your labours'] Or, as marg., and oppress all your 
labourers (so LXX. virox^^plovs). According to tlie law ol 
Lev. xvi. 29 a fast implied universal cessation of work, but these 
men. while fasting themselves, extorted from their slaves and 
hired servants their full tale of work. On slavery in the post- 
exilic community see Neh. v. 5. The translation "labourers" is 
somewhat uncertain ; the word does not occur elsewhere in this 

4. ye fast for strife and conteniion] The fasting made them as 
irritable as Arabs in the month of Ramadan; it produced a 
quarrelsome temper which even led to open violence, — "smiting 
with godless fist." 

ye fast not etc.] i.e. "with your present mode of fasting, your 
prayers can never reach the ear of Jehovah." 

"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below :^ 
Words without thoughts never to heaven go." 

Hamlet, Act III. Scene iii. 97 f. 

5. Is such the fast... a day etc. F] i.e. Does true fasting consist 
in such things as are described in the remainder of this verse? 

to afflict his soul] The phrase expresses what is of moral value 
in the act of fasting, the repression of sensual impulses through 
abstinence, etc. It is so used in Ps. xxxv. 13 ("I humbled my 
soul through fasting"), and in the laws about fasting it becomes 
almost a technical expression (Lev. xvi. 29, 31, xxiii. 27, 32; 
Num. xxix. 7). From it comes the noun ta'anith (humiUation), 
the common term for fasting in late Hebrew (found Ezra ix. 5). 
But the thought here seems to reach further. This clause is 
the virtual subject of the preceding, being explanatory of the 
"such" at the beginning (and so wdth the sequel of the verse). 
The prophet thus repudiates the ascetic idea of fasting entirely 
and finds the essence of it in the self-denial imposed by moral 
obligation (v. 6). 

and to spread... under him .^] to make his bed sackcloth and 
ashes (Est. iv. 13). 

6. 7. Description of the true fast in which Jehovah delights 

ISAIAH LVIII. 6—8 183 

the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, 
and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every 
yoke ? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and 7 
that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house ? 
when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and 
that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then 8 
shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy healing 

The duties enjoined fall under two heads: (i) abstinence from 
every form of oppression (v. 6), and (2) tlie exercise of positive 
beneficence towards 'the destitute {v. 7). In naming these things 
as the moral essence of fasting, the prophet may be guided by 
the principle so often inculcated by our Lord, that he who would 
obtain mercy from God must shew a merciful disposition towards 
his fellow-men (Matt. v. 7, vi. 12, xviii. 35, etc.). Or the idea 
may be that the spirit of self-denial possesses no value before 
God unless it be carried into the sphere of social duty. 

6. the bonds of wickedness'] i.e. unjust and oppressive obligations 
(cf. Ps. Ixxiii. 4). 

to undo the bands (or knots) of the yoke] The 3^oke was fixed 
on the neck of the ox by two wooden pins, one on either side, 
which were tied below with a thong (Post, Pal. Expl. Fund St., 
1891, p. 112). The metaphor speaks for itself. 

the oppressed is literally the "broken" (Deut. xxviii. 33; 
ch. xlii. 3), — bankrupts, whose liberty had been forfeited to their 
creditors (cf. Neh. v:. 5). 

7. Com'p. Ezek. xviii. 7 f., 16 f. ; Job xxxi. 13 ff. 

the poor that are cast out] the vagrant (homeless) poor. The 
word rendered "vagrant" is peculiar, but is supposed to come 
from a verb meaning "wander." It occurs with an abstract 
sense, and along with the abstract noun corresponding to the 
word here rendered "poor," in Lam. i. 7, iii. 19. 

hide not thyself (Deut. xxii. i, 3, 4) from thine own flesh] from 
thy fellow-Israelites (as in Neh. v. 5). Ehrlich improves the 
parallelism by reading "from his (bare) iiesh." 

8 ff. When these conditions are complied with, the glory of 
the latter days shall break on the regenerated community. 

thy light] (ch. Ix. i, 3), the emblem of salvation; cf. ch. ix. 2. 

break forth as the dawn] "Break forth" is the verb used in 
ch. XXXV. 6 ; Gen. vii. 11 ; Ps. Ixxiv. 15, of the bursting of waters 
through a fissure in the earth's surface ; by a vivid metaphor 
the dawn was conceived as "splitting" the heavens and flooding 
the world with light. The same word occurs on the Moabite 
Stone (1. 15) in the phrase "from the splitting of the dawn." 

thy healing] Or^ thy recovery. The word (Heb. 'driikah, Arab. 
'artka) seems to mean literally the new flesh (granulation) which 
is formed when a wound is healing (see Delitzsch's Commentary 

iS-j ISAIAH LVII!. 8— lo 

shall spring forth speedily : and thy righteousness shall 
go before thee ; tlie glory of the Lord shall be thy rear- 

9 ward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer ; 
thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou 
take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting 

10 forth of the linger, and speaking wickedly; and if thou 
^draw out thy soul to tlie hungry, and satisfy the afflicted 
soul ; tlren shall thy light rise in darkness, and thine 

' Or, bestow on the hungry that which thy soul desireth 

on the verse) ; it is used three times by Jeremiah with the sense 
of recovered health or prosperity; in Neh. iv. 7 (iv. i Heb.) and 
2 Chr. xxiv. 13 the metaphor is apphed to the repairing of damages 
(in the walls or the Temple). Since v. 12 shews that the prophet 
has the restoration of ruins in his mind, the coincidence with 
Neh. iv. 7 is certainly suggestive ; though the figure does not go 
beyond the general idea of recovered prosperity. 

shall go before thee. ..shall be thy rearward] Comp. ch. lii. 12. 
righteousness means in this case "right vindicated" by outward 
tokens of Jehovah's favour. 

9 a. The immediate answer to prayer, in contrast to the 
complaint of v. 3, is the evidence of harmony re-established 
between Jehovah and His worsliippers ; comp. ch. Ixv. 24, 
XXX. 19. 

9 b should be joined to v. 10. The conditions of acceptance 
with God are recapitulated in terms differing slightly from those 
of vi<. 6, 7. 

the putting forth of the finger] A gesture of contempt (Prov. vi. 13) 
towards the oppressed mentioned in vv. 6, 7. Compare (with 
Gesenius) the infamis digitus (Pers. 11. 33). 

10. draw out thv soul to the hungry] A very peculiar expression. 
The most natural sense would be "let thy desire (symp i1hy "") go 
out," etc. ; but most commentators rightly feel that the object 
("the hungry") demands some more specific definition of duty 
than this. Hence they take "thy soul" to mean "that in which 
thy soul .delights " (see marg.), i.e. "thy sustenance" (Cheyne), 
which is hardly an improvement, and is moreover a rendering 
not easily to be justified. The Peshitto reads "bread" instead of 
"soul" ; the LXX. has both words {tov S. itov e/c ^t'xrjs aov). Since 
the word "soul" immediately follows (in the original) it is not 
improbable that there is an error in the text, and that what the 
prophet wrote was "thy bread." Render therefore: and bestow 
thy bread on the hungry. This sense of the verb is guaranteed 
by a ver\' similar use in Ps. cxliv. 13 (E.V. "afford"). 

then shall thy light rise etc.] See w. 8 

ISAIAH LVIII. 10—13 185 

obscurity be as the noonday : and the Lord shall guide 1 1 
thee continuaUy, and satisfy th}' soul in ^dry places, and 
make strong thy bones ; and thou shalt be like a watered 
garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail 
not. And thej^ that shall be of thee shall build the old 12 
waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of 
many generations ; and thou shalt be called The repairer 
of the breach. The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou 13 

Or, drought 

11 the Lonh shall guide thee] Cf. ch. Ivii. 18. " I will lead him," 
— the same verb in Heb. 

satisfy thy soul (cf. v. 10) in dry places'] The last word does not 
occur elsewhere, and the sense given is hardly suitable. Ehrlich, 
after an Arabic analogy, renders "with health-giving nutriment." 

make strong thy bones] LXX. "make fat." The verb (which 
does not elsewhere occur in this form) may mean "make strong." 
But it is best to accept an old emendation of Seeker and Lowth, 
and read renew thy strength (see ch. xl. 29, 31). 

like a watered (well-watered, cf. xvi. 9) garden] Jer. xxxi. 12. 

whose waters fail not] Lit. deceive not. From this root comes 
the technical word 'akzdb, the "deceitful brook" (Jer. xv. 18; 
Mic. i. 14, R.V.). Comp. John iv. 14. 

12. Comp. ch. Ixi. 4, xlix. 8. The importance attached to the 
restoration of the mined places shews that what the prophet has 
in view is chiefly the recovery of temporal and political prosperity. 
It may also throw some light on the date of the prophecy. 
The description of the ruins as "ancient" suggests a period con- 
siderably later than the Exile (which only lasted half a century), 
although the argument is not one that can be rigorously pressed. 

they that shall be of thee] Strictly, "some of thee." Weir and 
Cheyne emend the text and read "thy children" ("I>33 for "[OD), 
Duhm "thv people' ("I^^y). Konig on the other hand {Syntax, 
p. 37) suggests a change of the verb (reading IJ^jI^: "and the 
wastes shall be built by thee. ' 

the old waste places] Better: the ancient ruins fxliv. 26). 

the foundations of many generations] might mean places which 
had heen founded many generations back, but the correspondence 
with ch. Ixi. 4 seems to shew that foundations which have lain 
waste for many generations are referred to. 

thou shalt be called] "A favourite expression of Trito-Isaiah" 
(Duhm); cf. Lxi. 3, Ixii. 2, 4, 12. 

The repairer of the breach etc.] The restoration of the walls 
and highways will be an achievement by which the community 
is remembered. 

paths to dwell in] Cf. Job xxiv. 13. 

i86 ISAIAH LVIU. i.s, 14 

turn away tliy foot from the sabbath, from doing tliy 
pleasure on ni}' holy day ; and call the sabb;i,th a delight, 
and the holy of the Lord honourable ; and shalt honour 
^it, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own 
14 pleasure, nor speaking thine own words : then shalt thou 
delight thyself in the Lord ; and I will make thee to 
ride upon the high places of the earth ; and 1 v/ill feed 
thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the 
mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. 

' Or, him 

13, 14. A promise attached to the .strict and cheerful obser- 
vance of the Sabbath. See on ch. Ivi. 2. Some commentators 
reject the verses as a late appendix, but without cogent reasons. 

13. // thou turn away thy foot fvom the sabbath] treating it as 
"holy ground" {d,:Ja-os). The metaphor is translated into literal 
terms in the following clause. 

from doing thy pleasure] [so as not] to do thy business (as v. 3). 

call the sabbath a delight] Great stress is laid on heartiness in 
the observance of this command; for a contrast see Am. viii. 5 

and call] the holy of the Loud honourable ; and shalt honour it] 
"The holy of Jehovah" is a remarkable designation for the 
Sabbath, and all the expressions of the clause are peculiar. 

not doing thine own ways] so as not to do after thy wont (Cheync). 
For pleasure render, as before, business. 

nor speaking thine ov/n words] Lit. a word, i.e. "idle words" ; 
cf. Hos. X. 4. Or the meaning may be "arranging a matter (of 

14. then shalt thou delight thyself] Better: Then shalt thou 
have thy delight; Job xxii. 26 The same verb as in ch. Ivii. 4. 

and I will make thee to ride over the heights of the earth] 
Apparently a quotation from Deut. xxxii. 13. The meaning is 
"I will carry thee triumphantly over all obstacles" (cf. Deut. 
xxxii. 11). 

feed thee with] make thee to eat, i.e. enjoy ; cf. ch. i. 19. 

Ch. LIX. "The Hindrances to Israel's Salvation and their 
Removal through the Interposition of Jehovah. 

The chapter is closely connected in character with the preceding, 
and may perhaps be regarded as a continuation of the same dis- 
course. The first verse justifies the utterance of such promises 
as are contained in the latter part of ch. Iviii., and the second 
explains why they remam as yet unfulfilled. The range of the 
prophecy is wider than in the former chapter, but the central 
theme and the historical situation are the same, and, as in tlie 

ISAIAH LIX. I. 2 187 

Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it 59 
cannot save ; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear : 
but your iniquities have separated between you and 2 

case of chh. Ivi. — Iviii., the phenomena of the chapter are most 
naturally accounted for on the assumption of a post-exilic date. 
In particular the prominence given to abuses of public justice 
(vv. 4, 14) in the catalogue of social crimes implies a degree of 
independence and political responsibility which can hardly be 
attributed to the Jews in exile. 

The chapter forms (apart from interpolation) a continuous 
discourse, in which we may recognise three main divisions : 

i. vv. I — 8. In opposition to the thought naturally arising 
in the mind of the people, that the obstacle to their deliverance 
must be impotence or indifference on the part of Jehovah {v. i), 
the prophet asserts that the true reason of His inactivity is the 
sin that has come between Him and them {v. 2). He points to 
the flagrant breaches of the moral law of which the community 
as a whole is guilty (vv. 3,4): and draws an appalling picture of 
the hopelessly corrupt character and conduct of many of his con- 
temporaries {vv. 5 — 8). 

ii. vv. 9 — 15 a. A pathetic description of the people's vain 
longing for deliverance and peace {vv. 9 — 11), followed by a 
confession of the sins which are the cause of their misery {vv. 
12 — 15 a). The prophet here identifies himself with the nation 
and speaks in its name. 

iii. vv. 156 — 21. At the middle of v. 15 the tone of the dis- 
course suddenly alters ; the language of complaint and pra5^er 
gives place to that of prophetic anticipation. Since the people 
is hopelessly entangled in its own sins, and no human champion 
appears on the scene, Jehovah Himself, represented as a warrior 
arming for the conflict, undertakes the work of salvation {vv. 156 
— 17). The world-wide consequences of His interposition are 
then described : destruction to His enemies, manifestation of 
His divinity to all mankind, and redemption to Zion {vv. 18 — 20), 
The chapter closes with a promise confirming the gift of the 
divine spirit and word to the true Israel in perpetuity {v. 21). 

1, 2. These verses state briefly and forcibly the argument of 
which the whole chapter is the expansion : not the powerlessness 
or the indifference of Jehovah, but the sin of the people, is the 
hindrance to the promised redemption. 

1. Behold the hand of Jehovah is not too short (cf. ch. 1. 2) to 

Nor His ear too heavy (ch. vi. 10) to hear. 

2. yoity iniquities have separated] Lit. "have been separating." 
The expression is that used of the firmament in Gen. i. 6; it 
implies that guilt has been a standing cause of alienation between 
Israel and its God. 

1 88 ISAIAH LIX. 2—4 

your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that 

3 he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, 
and your fingers with iniquity ; your lips have spoken 

4 lies, }our tongue muttercth wickedness. None ^sueth 
in righteousness, and none pleadeth in truth : they trust 
in vanity, and speak lies ; they conceive mischief, and 

' Heb. calleth. 
have hid his face] i.e. caused Him to withdraw His favour (cf 
ch. viii. 17). Instead of "his face," the Heb. has simply "face" 
as in Job xxxiv. 29. Various explanations are offered of this 
peculiar expression; e.g. that "the Face" had come to be used 
absolutely of the face of God, like "the Name," "the Word," 
etc. in later times It is more probable that the text is at fault. 

3. yoitr hands are defiled with blood] Cf. ch. i. 15. The verb 
(Niphal) is pointed anomalously, as in Lam. iv. 14. 

4. The first half of the verse is rightly rendered m R.V, 
None stieth .. .truth] The reference is to the abuse of legal 

procedure : lawsuits instituted and conducted with absolute 
disregard of righteousness and truth. Cf. ch. xxix. 21. 

sueth is lit. "calleth" (marg.) (in jus vocare), as in Job ix. 16, 
xiii. 22. 

pleadeth] i.e. "pleadeth a cause," litigates; the same word as 
in xhii. 26. 

The rest of the verse probably continues the same subject, 
describing the sophistical and mischievous arguments employed 
by the litigants to make the worse appear the better reason, and 
subvert the ends of justice. The verbs are infinitives (as in 
V. 13 and Hos. iv. 2) and should be translated thus: 

Trusting in emptiness (lit. "chaos" as xl. 17) and speaking 

Conceiving mischief and bringing forth evil! 
The last line occurs almost verbatim in Job xv. 35. 

5 — 8. These verses differ somewhat in character from vv. 3 f., 
and are regarded by Duhm and Cheyne as a quotation from some 
Psalm or collection of proverbs. In point of fact the first part 
of V. 7 appears in Prov i. 16, but probably as an interpolation, 
since the verse is wanting in the LXX. On the other hand, 
vv. 7, 8 are partly reproduced in the LXX. recension of Ps. xiv. 3, 
as in Rom. iii. 10 ff. These facts do not by themselves raise any 
presumption against the genuineness of the passage in this dis- 
course; and the first image of v. 5 connects itself naturally 
enough with the conclusion of v. 4. It must be admitted, how- 
ever, that the description can only apply to a limited class of 
utter reprobates, and there is some difficulty in conceiving that 
it can be the continuation of vv. 3, 4, which contain perfectly 
definite and intelhgible accusations against a whole community. 

ISAIAH LIX. 4—8 189 

bring forth iniquity. They hatch ^basihsks' eggs, and 5 
weave tlie spider's web : he that eateth of their eggs 
dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a 
viper. Their webs shall not become garments, neither 6 
shall they cover themselves with their works : their 
works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is 
in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make 7 
haste to shed innocent blood : their thoughts are thoughts 
of iniquity ; desolation and destruction are in their 
^ paths. The way of peace they know not ; and there 8 
is no ^judgement in their goings : they have made them 
crooked paths ; whosoever goeth therein doth not know 

"' Or, adders' •' Or, high ways * Or, Hght 

5. basilisks' eggs] See on ch. xi. 8. The figure is expanded 
in the latter part of the verse, and the meaning seems to be that 
the persons spolcen of brood over and bring to maturity projects 
of wickedness, whose effects are equally fatal to those who 
acquiesce in them and to those who oppose them. 

he that eateth of their eggs] (cf. Deut. xxxii. 33) i.e. either he 
who enters into their schemes, or he who is their victim. 

that which is crushed... viper] Should one try to stamp out one 
of their diabolical plots, its deadly nature will only be the more 
clearly manifested 

6. Development of the second image of v. 5, the point of 
comparison being the uselessness for any good social end of the 
schemes devised by the ungodly. 

shall not become garments] i.e. "shall not serve for a garment." 
neither shall men cover themselves etc.] (indefinite subj.). 
with their works] the web they have spun. 

7. 8. Cf. Prov. i. 16; Rom. iii. 15 — 17. 

7. their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity (or evil)] corresponding 
to their deeds, v. 6. 

de.,olation and destruction] as ch. li. ig, Ix. 18; an alliteration 
in the Heb. 

in their paths] Lit. in their liighways (marg), cf. Prov. xvi. 17. 

8. judgement here means right (marg.). 

goings] tracks, a common word in the Book of Proverbs. 

they have made them etc.] they have made their paths crooked. 
Cf. Prov. ii. 15, X. 9. xxviii. 18. 

9 — 11. The sorrow and dejection of the people is depicted in 
striking and pathetic images. It is the better mind of the com- 
munity which is here expressed, — its intense desii^e for the fulfil- 
ment of the divine promises, its weariness through hope deferred 
making the heart sick. The contrast to the buoyant enthusiasm 

xo;\i/\n jL-i^v. 

o peace. Therefore is judgement far from us, neither cloth 
rij^hteousness o\-ertake us: we look for hght, but behold 

10 darkness; for brightness, but we walk in obscurit}-. We 
grope for the wall like the blind, yea, we grope as they 
that ha\-e no eyes; we stumble at noonday as in the 
twilight; 1 among them that are lusty we are as dead 

11 men. We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves : 
we look for judgement, but there is none; for salvation, 

12 but it is far off from us. For our transgressions are 

' Or, we are in dark places like the dead 
of the second Isaiah is very great, and it is hardly credible that 
the state of feeling here described should have arisen in the short 
interval which elapsed between the announcement of deliverance 
and the actual release from captivity. 

9. Therefore] on account of these sins and disorders, and not 
on account of Jehovah's remissness (vv. i, z). The verse connects 
better with v. 4 than with y. 8. 

judgement. ..righteousness] are here again synonyms for salvation, 
right manifested by a judicial interposition of Jehovah, as in 
V. II and the latter part of ch. Ivi. i. 

overtake us] The nation has struggled on its dreary and difficult 
way in the confident expectation that salvation would not tarry 
long behind, but hitherto this hope has been disappointed. 

10. We grope for the wall etc ] Rather : along the wall seeking 
an outlet. Comp. the very similar passage Deut. x.xviii. 29. 

among them that are lusty we are as dead men] The word 
rendered "lusty," which occurs only here, is thought to come 
from a root denoting "fatness"; hence the translation of the 
R.V., which is perhaps the best that can be made of the Heb. 
Marg. and A.V., following the ^'ulg., have "desolate places"; 
but this is obviously unsuilable besides being destitute of any 
etymological basis. The soundness of the text is open to 
suspicion. In the LXX. the word for "lusty" is represented 
by a verb {arevd^ovaiu). 

11. We roar (better, growl : the verb is used of all sorts of 
unusual sounds) all like bears] Comp. (with Gesenius) Horace, 
Epod. 16. 51 : 

"Nee vespertinus circumgemit ursus ovile." 
The comparison would no doubt gain in force if we could 

suppose, as Duhm hesitatingly suggests, that captive animals, 

pining for liberty, are meant. But this is not indicated. 
On the "mourning" (cooing) of the dove, cf. ch. xxx\dii. 14; 

Ezek. vii. 16; Xah. ii. 7 ; and see Davidson's Ezekiel (Cambridge 

Bible), p. 49. 

we look for judgement etc.] returning to the thought of v. 9. 

ISAIAH LIX. 12—14 191 

multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: 
for our transgressions are with us, and as for our iniquities, 
we know tliem : in transgressing and denying the Lord, 13 
and turning away from following our God, speaking 
oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the 
heart words of falsehood. And judgement is turned 14 
away backward, and righteousness standeth afar off; 
for truth is fallen in the street, and uprightness cannot 

12 — 15 a. Confession of the sins previously denounced, and 
again summarised in v. 13, the prophet speaking in the name of 
the people. 

12. ouv sins testify against us] So Jer. xiv. 7. 

ottr transgressions are with ws] present to our conscience, 
Job xii. 3, xiv. 5, etc.; comp. also Ps. li. 3 ("my transgressions 
1 know, and my sin is before me continually"). 

13. The sins referred to in v. 12 are enumerated in a series of 
infinitives (cf. v. 4), which should be construed as in apposition 
to the terms "sin," "iniquities," etc. employed in the general 
confession of i;. 12. 

Rebellion and denial of Jehovah, 
and turning back from after our God, etc. 
It is doubtful if there is any reference here to the sin of idolatry ; 
the charge of apostasy is perhaps rather to be understood of 
offences against social morality, which amounted to a renunciation 
of the authority of Jeho\'ah. 

The last two lines deal with sins of speech, committed against 

revolt is literally "defection," and appears to be used in the 
same general sense as Deut. xix. 16 of declension from truth and 

uttering from the heart] The verb here is identical in form with 
that rendered "mutter" in i'. 3 and "mourn" in t^. 11. The 
vocalisation of both the verbs in this clause is anomalous, and 
should probably be changed (read hdro, hdgo). 

14. The confession, following the same order as the indictment 
in vv. 3, 4, proceeds front personal sins to pubhc injustice. 

judgement and righteousness are not the divine vindication of 
Israel's right (as in v. 9), but the fundamental civic virtues. 
These, by a bold personification, are conceived as eager to take 
their rightful place in the administration of justice, but as kept 
at a distance by the prevailing social corruption. For truth (the 
essential ba.sis of righteousness) stumbleth in the broad place, 
and uprightness cannot enter. The "broad place" is probably 
the open space at the city gate where cases were decided by the 
judges (Jer. v i, etc ). 

192 ISAIAH LIX. 14—16 

15 enter. Yea, truth is lacking; and he that departeth 
from evil maketii liimself a prey: and tlic Lord saw it, 

16 and it displeased liini that tliere was no judgement. And 
he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there 
was ^no intercessor: therefore his own arm brought 
salvation unto him ; and his righteousness, it upheld 

' Or, none to interpose 

15. And truth is lacking] missing, — conspicuous bj^ its absence : 
in colloquial English, "is far to seek." 

viakelh himself a prey] i.e. must submit to extortion (Ps. Ixxvi. 
6). Another, and pos.sibly a better rendering is, " withdraws him- 
self " ; compare the peculiar use of the simple verb in Ruth ii. 16 
(= "draw out" corn from the sheaf). 

15 b forms a somewhat abrupt transition to the last section of 
the discourse. Metrically it goes with what precedes ; but in 
thought it introduces vv. 16 ff., where the prophet describes the 
manner in which salvation shall at last "overtake" the sinful 
and misgoverned community. The logical development of the 
argument seems to be arrested by the conviction tliat the existing 
situation is hopeless, and only to be terminated through the 
personal intei-vention of Jehovah. This conviction clothes itself 
first of all in a prophetic vision of Jehovah as He appears to 
judgement; which. is followed by an announcement of the con- 
sequences of His interposition for the two classes within Israel 
and for mankind at large. 

and it displeased him] Lit. " was evil in his eyes." . For the sake 
of metre Gunkel makes the plausible suggestion that VJ'y3 yiM 
should be read yi^i V^'Uli, and the half-verse rendered: "And 
Jehovah saw it with His eyes-— and took knowledge that there 
was no judgement." 

16. Comp. the closely parallel passage, ch. Ixiii. 5. 
there was no man] See on ch. 1. 2. 

no intercessor] Better : none to interpose (marg ), i.e. on behalf 
of truth and right (cf. Ezek. xxii. 30). Duhm finds in these 
expressions an allusion to the absence of any human hero to play 
the role assigned to Cyrus in the earlier part of the book. This 
is perhaps to strain the prophet's language unduly; but see on 
Ixiii. 5. A reference to Nehemiah seems quite impossible. 

therefore his own arm etc.] Jehovah's only allies in this conflict 
with wickedness are His own attributes. 

. brought salvation unto him] "wrought deliverance for Him." 
Cf. Jud. vii. 2. 

That the whole description refers to a future event can hardly 
be questioned. The perfects in this verse and the next are those 
of prophetic certainty. 

ISAIAH LIX. i6— 18 193 

him. And he put on righteousness as a ^ breastplate, 17 
and 2 an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put 
on garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad 
with zeal as a cloke. According to their ^deeds, accord- 18 
ingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence 
to his enemies; to the * islands he will repay recompence. 

1 Or, coat of mail 2 Or, salvation for an helmet 

^ Heb. recompences. ^ Or, coastlands 

•17. The idea of Jehovah as a warrior occurs several times in 
this book (ch. xhi. 13, xhx. 24 f., hi. 10); but the fuU}^ developed 
image of His arming Himself with His own attributes has no 
exact parallel in the O.T. (cf. however, ch. xi. 5). It is repro- 
duced and further elaborated in Wisd. v. 17 ff.; and in the 
N.T. it suggests the figure of the Christian armour (Eph. vi. 14 ff. ; 
i Thess. v. 8). 

And he put on righteousness as a coat of mail (marg.)] " Right- 
eousness," as in V. 16, is a divine attribute, — zeal for the right, 
the stedfast purpose to establish righteousness (and its correlate, 
salvation) on the earth. 

and an (the) helmet of salvation was upon his head] is better 
than marg. "salvation for an helmet," etc. 

The word for clothing is anomalous, and is better omitted with 
LXX. and Vulg. zear\ Cf. ch. xhi. 13, ix. 7. 

18 — 20. The consequences of Jehovah's interposition. 

18. According to their deeds] Or, deserts. The word means 
simply an accomplished deed, either in a good or bad sense ; but 
it is chiefly used in expressions which imply a reference to reward 
or retribution. In the very next line it denotes the recompence 
itself (cf. ch. xxjj;v. 4). 

According to... accordingly] The form of the comparative 
sentence is hardly grammatical. The compound preposition 
(■?y3 : so Ixiii. 7) which introduces both protasis and apodosis 
has in the second case no noun to govern, and it cannot be treated 
either as a conjunction or as an adverb. We must either (with 
Dillmann) omit "accordingly" as dittography, or (with Duhm) 
change "he will repay" into a noun; rendering, "as the deserts 
so the retribution." The sentence, however, would read awk- 
wardly without a verb; and the best emendation is perhaps to 
change the second hv2 into Sl^: : "he will render recompence" 
(Cheyne, Marti and others). 

to the islands he will repay recompence] The clause seems to 
identify the "adversaries" and "enemies" of Jehovah with the 
"islands" (cf. xh. i), i.e. the heathen world; but that is almost 
certainly a misinterpretation of the sense of the passage. If 
there is any connexion with the earlier part of the discourse, the 


194 JSAIAII LIX. 19 

>9 So shall they feaf the name of the Lord from the west, 
and his glory from the rising of the sun: ^for he shall 
come as ^a rushing stream, which the breath of the Lord 

' Or, when the adversary shall come in like a /loud, the spirit af 
the LoJin shall lift up a standard against him 
■ Heh. a stream pent in. 

" juhersaries" spoken of must be the apostate Jews - those wlio 
by their sins hindered the coming ol salvation. The prophet 
cannot mean tluit because Israel's sin has separated it fryni 
Jehovah, therefore judgement will descend on the heathen. 
Apart from this clause, indeed, there is nothing in the context 
to suggest the thought of a world-judgement, although of course 
theconceptionof a judgement beginning with Israel and extending 
to the nations is possible (see on ch. iii. 13). The words, however, 
are wanting in the LXX., and may be safely deleted as a gloss 
on the last commented on. 

19. The effect of the judgement, as a manifestation of Jehovah's 
glory, will be coextensive with humanity. The verse gives no 
hint that the judgement itself will be universal; the nations are 
affected by it only in so far as it reveals the character and deity 
of the God of Israel. Comp. ch. xviii 3. 

fear the name of the Loud] Cf. Ps. cii. 15. Some MSS. read 
"see" for "fear"; and this is perhaps on the whole preferable 
(cf. Ixvi. 18). 

for he shall come as a rushing stream (marg. a stream pent in), 
...driveth] The oft-quoted rendering of marg. and A.V. is 
based on the Targ., Pesh., and Jewish commentators, and is 
followed by a few in recent times ; that of R.V. has the authority 
of the LXX. (in part) and Vulg., and altliougli not free from 
difficulty, is adopted by nearly all modern authorities. The chief 
points of difference are (i) the construction of the word which 
A.^' . translates by enemy (Heb. zdr). According to the Massoretic 
pointing and accentuation it is the subject of the sentence, and 
may be rendered indifferently "adversary" or "adversity." On 
the other view it is an adjective qualifying "stream," and may 
mean either as an act. part, "rushing," or (less probably) 
"straitened," "pent up." (2) the verb for driveth (A.V. "lift 
up a standard": Heb. noses). The A.V. understands it as a 
denominative from the common word for "standard" (see on 
ch. X. 18), while the R.V. derives it from the verb for "flee" 
(Pil'el = "drive forward"). The other differences need no 
elucidation. The interpretation of R.V. is alone suitable to the 
connexion, which "requires a continuous description of the 
theophany" (Cheyne). For the image in the last clause cf. 
XXX. 28 ("His breath is as an overflowing stream"). 

20. The consequences for Israel. 

ISAIAH LIX. ly— 21 195 

(Irixeth. And a redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto 20 
them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the 
Lord. And as for me, this is my covenant with them, 21 
saith the Lord: my spirit that is upon thee, and my 
words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart 
out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor 
out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, 
from henceforth and for ever. 

And a redeemer shall come] Rather; And he shall come as a 
redeemer (ch. xli. 14). 

and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob] LXX. has 
"and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob," — a different and 
more expressive text. So also in the quotation, Rom. xi. 26, 
where the words are applied in a Messianic sense. The following 
words, saith the Lnui), should be omitted with the LXX. for 
metrical and other reasons. 

21. Confirmation of the covenant to the true Israel. The 
verse, on account of its apparent want of connexion with what 
precedes, its. change of person and number, and its prosaic 
structure, is regarded by some as an insertion. 

my spirit that is upon thee] The change of pronouns {with 
■ them... upon thee) presents little difficulty here. It is caused by 
the transition from indirect to direct address ; what follows being 
the substance of an oracle that was already gone forth. Comp. 
the similar promise in ch. xliv. 3. The person addressed is 
Israel, which is even now endowed with the divine spirit and 
word. Whether Israel is conceived as "the bearer of the idea 
of the Servant pf Jehovah" (Dillmann) is very doubtful in view 
of the post-exilic origin of the prophecy.' Against the view that 
the prophet himself is addressed. Dillmann pertinently remarks 
that the O.T. knows nothing of a hereditary transmission of the 
prophetic gift. 

Ch. LX. The Glory of the New Jerusalem. 

At length the dark clouds of sin and impending judgement roll 
away before the prophet's vision, and in three magnificent 
chapters (Ix. — Ixii.) he hails the rising sun of Jerusalem's pros- 
perity. Ch. Ix., a prophecy complete in itself, is a continuous 
apostrophe to the ideal Zion, describing her future splendour, 
the restoration of her children, the submission of the nations, 
the iniiux of costly tribute from all parts of the earth, etc. The 
main features can be paralleled from chh. xhx.- — Iv., and the strong 
resemblance to ch. xhx. 14 ff., li. 17 ff., liv. would naturally lead 
to its being assigned to the same author. Had the chapter 


196 ISAIAW L\. 

occupied a diflferent position doubt on this point would hardly 
arise ; it could be accepted without difficulty as a prophecy of 
return from exile, written in Babylon. But the fact that it 
follows a series of chapters, which there are strong reasons to 
regard as post-exilic, raises the question whether it may not 
liave been composed in the same circumstances as the gloomy 
oracles with which it is immediately connected. A closer 
examination of the passage reveals little that is decisive, but 
nothing inconsistent with this hypothesis. The promise of the 
return of the exiles {vv. 4, 9) obviously refers to the Jews dispersed 
throughout the world, whose ingathering remained an object of 
prophetic anticipation long after the restoration of the Jewish 
community in Palestine. The allusions to the sanctuary in 
vv. 7, 13 are consistent with the assumption that the Temple is 
already built and only needs to be beautified. That tlie walls 
are still unbuilt (v. 10) only proves that the date is earlier than 
the governorship of Nehemiah. In the absence of definite 
indications to the contrary the theory of post-exilic authorship 
is to be preferred in the interest of critical simplicity. The 
prophecy at all events loses none of its significance if it is regarded 
as a message of consolation to the depressed and misgoverned 
and povert54- stricken community depicted in the foregoing 

The poem, according to Duhm and Cheyne, consists of ten 
strophes. The order of ideas may be thus exhibited : 

i. vv. I — 3. An introductory strophe. While the rest of the 
world is shrouded in darkness, the light of Jehovah's glory breaks 
on Zion, and the nations are attracted to it. 

ii. vv. 4 — 9. The main subject of the next three strophes is 
the return of the exiled children of Zion from East and West. 
As in ch. xlix. 22, they are represented as brought home by the 
nations among whom they have sojourned; the resources of the 
world are placed at their disposal, and the}' bring wi>h them the 
wealth of distant countries as tribute to the God of Israel. 

iii. vv. 10 — 16. The relation of the new Israel to the outer 
world (again three strophes) Zion becomes the mistress of the 
nations ; her walls are built by strangers, and kings are her sei-vants 
{v. 10) ; through her open gates a constant stream of treasure 
flows to beautify the sanctuary (vv. 11 — 13); she is the joy and 
praise of the whole earth, and is nourished by the "milk of the 
Gentiles" {vv. 14 — 16). 

iv. vv. 17 — 22. The last three strophes describe the internal 
prosperity, both material and moral, of the future community. 
Peace and righteousness are the ruling powers within its borders ; 
perfect order and security prevail {vv. 17 f.); instead of the 
natiiral luminaries of heaven, Jehovah Himself is its "everlasting 
light" {vv. 19 f.) ; the inhabitants are all righteous, possessing the 
land for ever, as the branch of the Lord's planting {vv. 21 f.). 

ISAIAH LX. 1—5 197 

Arise, shine ; for thy Hght is come, and the glory of 60 
the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness 2 
shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples: ' 
but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall 
be seen upon thee. And nations shall come to thy light, ^ 
and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine 4 
eyes round about, and see : they all gather themselves 
together, they come to thee : thy sons shall come from far, 
and thy daughters shall be ^ carried in the arms. Then 5 
thou shalt see and be lightened, and thine heart shall 

^ Heb. nursed upon the side. 

1 — 3. The first strophe. The image in these strikingly 
beautiful verses is that of a city glittering in the first rays of the 
morning sun. It recalls "Wordsworth's sonnet: "Earth hath 
not anything to shew more fair," etc. Zion is no doubt addressed 
in the feminine gender, but the personification is much less 
complete than in ch. xhx. 18 ff., li. 17 ff., lii. i &., liv. i ff. The 
name "Jerusalem" is inserted by the LXX., Targ. and Vulg., 
but the addition is unnecessary and unmetrical (cf. liv, i). 

for thy Hght is come] Cf. ch. Iviii. 8, 10, hx. 9. It is the 
light of the promised salvation, so long looked for in vain. 
The perfect tenses are used from the ideal standpoint of the 

2, 3. While Zion is thus illuminated by the presence of Jehovah 
the heathen world stiU Hes in darkness. Jerusalem is the one 
point of light on the earth's surface, to which the nations and 
their kings are attracted. 

2. but the Lord etc.] Better : but upon thee (emphatic) shall 
Jehovah rise (as the morning sun). 

shall be seen] shall appear. 

4, 5. Second strophe. In this and the two following strophes 
two things are closely associated : the restoration of Zion's 
banished children, and the influx of wealth from all parts of the 
world. The first half of v. 4 is repeated hterally in ch. xlix. 18. 

4. shall be carried in the arms] Lit. shall be nursed on the side 
(marg.), i.e. carried on the hip, the Eastern mode of carrying 
young children. Cf. ch. Ixvi. 12, xhx. 22. The idea, therefore, 
is the same as in ch. xlix. 22 f. ; the nurses who bring back the 
children representing the heathen nations. See Muir, Life oj 
Mahomet, p. 8 (abridged ed.): "Thou gavest me this bite upon 
my back, when I carried thee on my hip." 

5. and be lightened] (cf. Ps. xxxiv. 5); i.e. be radiant with 
joy. The verb is not to be confused with that rendered "flow", 
in ii. 2 (see A.V.). 

iqS ISAIAH LX. 5, 6 

tremble and be enlarged ; because the abundance of the 
sea sliall be turned unto thee, the wealth of the nations 

6 shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall 
cov^er thee, the ^dromedaries of Midian and Ephah ; they 

, all shall come from Sheba : they shall bring gold and 

' Or, young camels 

thine heart shall tremble] shall throb, obviously from joy. as in 
Jer. xxxiii. 9 (Hos. iii. 5). These are perhaps the only instances 
where the word is so used. Usually it means to tremble from 

and he enlarged] The verb is questioned by Ehrlich on the 
ground that in Heb. breadth of heart is an intellectual quality 
(i Ki. V. 9; Ps. cxix. 32). 

the abundance of the sea] "Abundance" is lit. "tumult"; it 
often means "multitude" (see cli. v. 13 f., xiii. 4, xxxiii. 3), but 
in late usage it acquires the sense of "wealth" (Eccl. v. 9; Ps. 
xxxvii. 16). The wealth of the sea is not the produce of the sea, 
but seaborne wealth, the wealth of maritime nations. 

shall be turned unto thee] The stream of commerce shall be 
diverted from its old channels and flow to Zion. 

the ivealth of the nations] Cf. Hag. ii. 7 ("the desirable things 
of all nations"). 

6, 7. Third strophe. The promi-se of v. 5 is expanded in two 
pictures, seen from Jerusalem's commanding position between 
the desert and the sea. The first is a procession of camels and 
flocks representing the tribute of the East. 

6. The multitude of camels] Cf. Ezek. xxvi. 10; Job xxii. 11, 
xxxviii. 34. The word for "multitude" is used of Jehu's escort 
in 2 Ki. ix. 17; in every other case it is associated with the verb 
cover, which reads somewhat strangely here. 

dromedaries] Properly, "young camels." The word does not 
occur in the O.T. elsewhere ; amongst the Arabs it denotes, 
according to some of the native lexicographers, a camel less than 
nine years old (Lane's Lexicon). 

Ephah] A Midianite tribe (Gen. xxv. 4). The Midianites are 
often mentioned in the O.T., although nearly always (except 
Hab. iii. 7) in connexion with the early history. In Gen. xxxvii. 
28, 36 they appear as traders between the desert and Egypt (in 
another source — vv. 25, 28 — they are called Ishmaelites) ; in 
Ex. ii. and xviii. we find them occupying the Sinaitic peninsula; 
in Num. xxii , xxv., xxxi. on the east of the Jordan ; in Jud. vi. — 
viii. their hordes invade Palestine. Their proper territory is said 
to have been east of the Gulf of Akaba, where Ptolemy and the 
Arabian geographers mention a city of Madian. 

they all shall come from Sheba] This rendering, which follows 
the Heb. accentuation, seems to imply that the produce of Sheba 

ISAIAH LX. 6—9 199 

frankincense, and shall ^ proclaim the praises of the 
Lord. All the fiocks of Kedar shall be gathered to- 7 
gether unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister 
unto thee : they shall come up with acceptance on mine 
altar, and I will ^ glorify ^the house of my glory. Who 8 
are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their 
windows ? Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the 9 

^ Heb. bring good tidings of the praises. " Or, beautify 

^ Or, my beautiful house 

was conveyed by Midianite caravans. Sheba (Gen. x. 7, etc.) is 
a people and country in Arabia Felix (Yemen). 

they shall bring gold and frankincense] See i Ki. x. 2 ; Ezek. 
xxvii. 22; Ps. Ixxii. 15; Jer. vi. 20. Duhm rejects this line as 
metrically superiiuous ; but if a solitaiy tristich in a series of 
distichs is to be ruled inadmissible, it is a question whether 
suspicion should not fall rather on the following line. 

proclaim the praises of the Loun] Lit. "proclaim the glad 
tidings of " His praiseworthy deeds ; cf. ch. Ixiii. 7. 

7. Kedar (see on ch. xxi. 16)... Nebaioth] Cf. Gen. xxv. 13, etc. 
The identification of the latter tribe with the Nabateans of the 
classical writers is disputed by some eminent authorities, but it 
is at least a significant circumstance that "Nabataei et Cedrei" 
are bracketed together by Phny, as Nabaitai and Kidrai are 
associated in Assyrian inscriptions (Schrader, Cuneiform In- 
scriptions, on Gen. xxv. 13 f.). The Nabateans were as powerful 
in the last three centuries B.C. as the Midianites appear to have 
been in the days of Moses and the Judges, and there are indications 
that their expansion dates from the fifth cent, (see on ch. xxxiv. 
Introd. Note). 

shall minister unto thee] serv'c thee as sacrificial victims. The 
verb has a liturgical sense (see ch. Ivi. 6) and the somewhat 
peculiar expression is explained by the following clause. 

I will glorify etc.] my beautiful house I will beautify {v. 13). 
These words seem naturally to imply that the Temple was already 
irr existence. 

8, 9. Fourth strophe. From the East the prophet turns to 
the West, and describes the ships of the Mediterranean "like 
white doves upon the wing" converging on Jerusalem. These 
also bring from afar the exiled sons of Zion, as well as rich 
treasures from the nations. 

8. Who are these etc.] Cf. Cant. iii. 6, viii. 5. 

as the doves to their windows] Gen. viii. 9. The point of com- 
parison is rather the swiftness of the flight, than the whiteness of 
the wings and sails. 

9. Surely the isles shall wait for me] ch. xlii. 4, li. 5. Duhm 

200 ISAIAH LX. 0—12 

ships of Tarshisli first, to bring thy sons from far, th'.Mr 
silver and their gold with them, for the name of the 
Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because 

10 he hath ^glorified thee. And strangers shall build up 
thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee : for 
in my wrath" I smote thee, but in my favour have I had 

1 1 mere}' on thee. Thy gates also shall be open continuall}^ ; 
they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may 
bring unto thee the wealth of the nations, and their 

12 kings led with them. For that nation and kingdom that 
will not serv^ thee shall perish ; yea, those nations shall 

^ Or, beautified 

proposes to read "For to me shall the seafarers be gathered" 
(substituting ziyyftn [D'^V, see on ch. xxiii. 13] for 'iyyim [D'*X], 
and changing the verb to Niph.). Some such sense would better 
explain the word "first" in the following hne; but W''i should 
rather be rendered "ships" or "galleys," as in xxxiii. 21 ; Num. 
xxiv. 24; Ezek. xxx. 9; Dan. xi. 30. 

ships of TarshisK] See on ch. ii. 16. 

glorified thee] beautified thee (as ?^ 7). The verse ends exactly 
as Iv. 5. 

10, 11. Fifth strophe. The restoration of Zion's material 
prosperity through the labour and gifts of foreign peoples. 

10. strangers] as in ch. Ivi. 3 ; although the reference here is 
not to individual proselytes, but to foreigners in general. It is 
not even certain that the verse implies a willing cooperation of 
heathen converted to the religion of Israel, although this is to 
be presumed. In either case the rebuilding of the walls (see 
Introductory Note to this chapter) by the heathen who had 
destroyed them is the sign of the complete removal of the divine 
anger against Israel. 

for in my wrath etc.] Cf. ch. liv. 7, 8. 

11. the wealth of (the) nations] as v. 5. 

a7id their kings led with them] A circumstantial clause. Most 
recent commentators change the passive participle into an 
active: "their kings being the leaders." The alteration is an 

12. Comp. Zech. xiv. 17, 18. The verse is rightly objected to 
by Duhm and most others on account of its prosaic character 
and unrhythmical structure, and also because it violates the 
strophic arrangement which runs through the chapter. 

13. 14. Sixth strophe. Forest trees from Lebanon .shall be 
brought for the adornment of the Temple (see Neh. ii. 8). It is 
difficult to say whether the reference be to building materials 

TSAIAH LX. 12—16 201 

be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come 13 
unto thee, the fir tree, the pine, and the box tree to- 
gether ; to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will 
make the place of mv feet glorious. And the sons of 14 
them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee ; 
and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves 
down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall cah thee 
The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of 
Israel. Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so 15 
that no man passed through thee, 1 will make thee an 
eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou 16 
shalt also suck the milk of the nations, and shaft suck 
the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the 
Lord am thy saviour, and thy redeemer, the Mighty 

for the sacred edifice, or to ornamental trees planted in the 
Temple courts. The former view, though less poetic, is more 
probable ; and it is certainly unfair to cite the proverbial ex- 
pressions of V. 17 as an argument against it. 

13. The glory of Lebanon] ch. X-X.X.V. 2. 

the fir tree, the pine, and the box tree together] See ch. xli. 19. 

the place of my sanctuary] is the Temple (Jer. xvii. 12), not the 
city of Jerusalem, as the place where the Temple is situated. 

the place of my feet] Cf. Ezek. xliii. 7 ("the place of the soles 
of my feet"). 

14. The homage done to Zion by her former oppressors is to 
be regarded as the consequence of the new glory which accrues 
to the sanctuary {v. 13). 

And the sons... feet] The LXX. reads simply: "And there 
shall come crouching unto thee the sons of thine afflicters and 
despisers." The words omitted {all they and shall bow... feet) 
are an unmetrical gloss. 

The Zion of the Holy One of Israel] On the construction of the 
proper name followed bv a genitive see Davidson, Syntax, § 24, 
R. 6. 

15. 16. Seventh strophe. Instead of being shunned and 
hated by all nations, Zion shall become the joy of the whole 
earth, her wants being abundantly supplied from the best that 
the nations can bestow. 

15. Instead of thy being forsaken and hated] Cf. ch. xlix. 
14, 21, liv. 6, II. 

so that no man passed through thee] with none passing by (or 

16. For the figure in the first half of the verse, cf. ch. xlix. 23 ; 
the second half is repeated in xlix. 26. 

Z02 ISAIAH LX. 16—19 

17 One of Jacob. For brass I will bring gold, and for iron 
I will l)ring silver, and for wood l^rass, and for stones 
iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and Uhine 

18 exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard 
in thy land, desolation nor destruction within thy bor- 
ders; but thou shalt call thy walls Saltation, and thy 

19 gates Praise. The sun shall be no more thy ligbt by 
da}'' ; neither for brightness sliall the moon give light unto 
thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting 

^ Or, thy taskmasters 

17, 18. Eighth strophe. The inner order and security of the 
commonwealth shall correspond to its material splendour, — a 
double contrast to its present (or past) condition. 

17. For brass. etc.] Cf. ch. ix. 10; i Ki. x. 21, 27, and 
the opposite experience, i Ki. xiv. 26 f. 

and for wood... iron] These words overload the, give an 
unsuitable idea, and are to be removed as an unauthorised 

/ jvill also make etc.] Render : And I will appoint Peace as 
thy government and Righteousness as thy ruler. The word for 
officers is an abstract noun (like " management" or " magistracy ") 
used in a concrete sense ; exactors is a plural of majesty, precisely 
as in ch. iii. 12. Its use here is an oxymoron: it denotes a 
tyrannous, arbitrary ruler (see on ch. liii. 7), the idea conveyed 
being that the tyranny of the present shall be replaced by 
the genial rule of Righteousness. In other words. Peace and 
Righteousness (personified qualities, as ch. lix. 14) shall be the 
governing powers in the new Jerusalem. The other rendering, 
"I will make thy governors peaceful,' etc. (so virtually the LXX.), 
is grammatically possible, but yields a sense feeble and un- 

18. desolation nor destruction] ch. lix. 7, li. 19. 

thou shalt call thy walls Salvation etc.] This rendering is 
decidedly preferable to that of most recent commentators : " thou 
shalt call Salvation thy walls," etc. Moreover the rule in such 
cases (although v. 17 furnishes an exception) is that "the nearer 
obj. is usually def. and the more remote indef." (Davidson, 
Syntax, § 76.) See also on ch. xxvi. i. 

19, 20' Ninth strophe. Comp. Rev. xxi. 23: "And the city 
had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it : for 
the glor>^ of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof " ; 
and xxii. 5. It is not implied that the sun and moon shall cease 
to exist; all that is said is that the new Jerusalem shall not be 
dependent on these natural luminaries. But that an actual 
physical illumination of the city by the glory of JeKovah is 

ISAIAH LX. 19—22 203 

light, and thy God thy ^glory. Thy sun shall no 20 
more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself : 
for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the 
days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also 21 
shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land for ever ; 
the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that 
I may be glorified. The little one shall become a thou- 22 
sand, and the small one a strong nation : I the Lord 
will hasten it in its time. 

1 Or, beauty 

contemplated by the prophet can hardly be doubted. The basis 
of the conception is perhaps to be found in Ezek. xliii. 2. 

19. thy glory^ thy beauty; vv. 7, 9, 13. 

20. the days of thy mourning] Cf. ch. Ivii. 18, Ixi. 2. 

21,22. Tenth strophe. The community, composed exclusively 
of righteous persons, shall possess the land for ever; and Jehovah 
shall be glorified in them. 

inherit] Better: possess. 

the branch of my planting] i.e. "which I have planted." Cf. 
ch. Ixi. 3. The word for branch denotes strictly a "shoot'"; so 
also in ch. xi. i, xiv. 19. For the figure cf. ch. v. 7. 

22. The little one... the small one] Better perhaps : The least 
...the smallest. The word for "thousand" {'eleph) means also 
a larger or smaller group of famiUes, — "clan" or tribe. This is 
doubtless the sense in which it is employed here : comp. the 
parallel "nation" in the next line. 

will hasten it in its time] The fulfilment shall be instantaneous 
when the appointed time has arrived. The reference is to the 
whole of the preceding prophecy. 

Ch. LXI. The Proclamation of Glad Tidings to Zion. 

i. vv. I — 3. The speaker (see below) introduces himself as the 
herald of the coming salvation. Anointed with the spirit of the 
Lord, he is commissioned to cheer and comfort the distressed 
people of God by the announcement of a day of spiritual emanci- 
pation and privilege which issues in eternal splendour. 

ii. vv. 4 — 9. In the end of z^. 3 the soliloquy has passed 
insensibly into objective description of the glorious future of 
Israel; and this is the subject of the remainder of the prophecy. 
The old waste places shall be rebuilt {v. 4) ; Israel shall be recog- 
nised as the priestly people among the nations, while strangers 
feed its flocks and till its fields (vv. 5, 6) ; the people shall receive 
double compensation for their past sufferings, and the blessing 
of Jehovah shall visibly rest on them {vv. 7 — 9) 


iii. vv. lo, ir. The prophet, speaking as it would appear in 
the name of the community, exults in the glorious prospect thus 
disclosed of a spiritual spring-time when Jehovah shall cause 
righteousness and praise to sprout before all the nations. 

It will be seen that in substance the passage deals with the 
same theme as ch. Ix., the future blessedness of Zion. The 
important difference is the prominence given in the opening 
monologue {vv. i — 3) to the personality and mission of the speaker. 
The question necessarily arises, Who is this speaker? Whilst the 
Targum and perhaps a majority of well-known commentators 
assign the speech to the prophet himself, a number of good 
authorities regard it as a self-delineation of the ideal Servant of 
Jehovah such as we have found in ch. xlix. i — 6 and 1. 4^-9- 
The question is one of some difficulty, and the chief pomts 
involved are the following: (i) The name "Serv^ant of the 
Lord" does not here occur. But this really counts for little, 
since the same is true of ch. 1. 4—9, where it cannot be doubted 
that it is the Servant who speaks. (2) It is said that the prophet 
invariably keeps his own personality in the background and 
that where any other than Jehovah speaks of himself at length, 
it is always the Servant. This is true of the author of clih. xl.-^ Iv., 
but is much less obvious if the present passage has to be assigned 
to a later writer. The prophet's consciousness of his own mission 
is strongly expressed in ch. Iviii. i, probably also in ch. Ixii. i, 
and it is unsafe to assert that he might not have expanded it in 
such terms as are here used. Another exception to the rule is 
found in the earlier part of the book in ch. xlviii. 16 (which may 
however be an interpolation. See on the verse). (3) There are 
undoubtedlv affinities between the conception here and the 
portrait of the Servant; e.g. the gift of the spirit (xlii. i), the 
helpful and consohng ministry (1. 4, xlii. 3), the message of 
emancipation (xhi. 7, xHx. 9)- On the other hand the function 
claimed by the speaker cannot be said to transcend that of a 
prophet, and seems to fall below the level of the Servant's great 
work. He is only the herald of salvation, whereas the Servant 
is its mediator; there is nothing here to suggest the profound 
moral influence which is the characteristic of the Ser\'ant's 
ministry to Israel, for it does not appear that the mission of 
consolation here described consists in anything else than the 
proclamation of the coming glory. We miss also the element of 
universaUsm which is so conspicuous in the Servant's work ; and 
the allusion to a " day of vengeance " strikes a note which is never 
found in the undoubted utterances of the Sen,'ant. (4) Although 
it may be a begging of the question to assert that the personifica- 
tion of the Servant ceases with ch. liii., it is certainly difficult to 
find a place for this portrait in the cycle of Servant-poems. These 
passages shew a well-marked progression and connexion of 
thought, and one must hesitate to beheve that after the 
in ch. Ui'i. the same personage should again appear in what must 

ISx\IAH LXI. I. 2 205 

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the 61 
Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto 
the ^meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken- 
hearted, to proclaim hberty to the captives, and ^the 
opening of the prison to them that are bound ; to proclaim 2 

* Or, poor ^ Or, opening of the eyes 

be considered a subordinate character. (5) The reasons for 
supposing that the Servant is here introduced as speaker lose 
all their force if we accept the probable theory that this chapter 
was written by a much later prophet than second Isaiah, but 
one who was familiar with the earlier portraits of the Servant 
and whose conception of his own prophetic ofhce was influenced 
by them. That our Lord quotes the passage as descriptive of 
Himself and His message (Kuke iv. 18 f.) does not decide the 
question, for the ideal prophet is as truly a type of Christ as the 
Servant himself. 

1 — 3. The prophet as Evangelist. 

1. The spirit. ..upon me] Cf. xlii. i, xlviii. 16 (hx. 21). 

because the Loim hath anointed me] The abiding possession of 
the spirit is the consequence of this consecrating act of Jehovah. 
"Anoint" is used, as often, in a metaphorical sense. The idea 
that prophets were actually anointed with oil is supported only 
by I Ki. xix. 16, and even there the sense inay be metaphorical 
since (as Cheyne observes) we do not read that the act was per- 

to preach good tidings] The verb is basser [euayyeXiaaadat), on 
which see the notes to xl. 9 and lii. 7. It is to be remarked that 
in chh. xl. — ly. the mebasser (or mebassereth) is an ideal personage 
or company, whose function is quite distinct from that of the 
prophet or the Servant. 

to bind up (i.e. heal) the broke n-hearted] Cf. Ps. cxlvii. 3, 
xxxiv. 18, li. 17. 

The terms "meek" and "broken-hearted" denote the religious 
qualities which characterise the recipients of the prophet's 
Evangel. How far the following designations, "captives," 
"bound," "mourners," are to be understood in a spiritual sense 
is doubtful. It is not unlikely that the immediate reference is 
to the social evils whose redress is already demanded in ch. 
Iviii. 6, 9. 

to proclaim liberty] A suggestive expression, shewing that the 
idea of the year of salvation is based on the institution of the 
Jubilee; see Lev. xxv. 10; and cf. Jer. xxxiv. 8, 15, 17; Ezek. 
xlvi. 17. These, indeed, are the only occurrences of the word 
for "liberty" (deror), which is thus seen to denote always a 
universal emancipation by public decree. 

the opening of the pnson] The rendering " opening of the eyes " 

-iuo ISAIAH LXI. 2—5 

^tlic acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of 
J \-cngeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to 
appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto 
them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, 
the gamient of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that 
they might be called trees of righteousness, the plrihting 

4 of the Lord, that he might be gloriiied. And they shall 
build the old wastes, they shall raise up tlu^ former deso- 
lations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desola- 

5 tions of many generations. And strangers shall stand 

'■ Or, the year of the Lohd'h good pleasure 

(marg.) does not suit the context, though it is true that the word 
is generally used of the opening of eyes (once of ears). [In the 
Heb. read pckahkoah as a single word, = "opening."] 

2. the acceptable year of the Loi;i>] Rather : a year of Jehovah's 
favour (ch. xlix. 8); and so in the next line, a day of our God's 
vengeance (cf. Ixiii. 4, ch. xxxiv. 8). vengeance] i.e. on the 
oppressors of Israel, perhaps also on the sinful members of the 
nation (lix. 16 fi.). 

/() comfort all that mourn] Cf. ch. Ivii. 18. The clause belongs 
metrically to the next verse. 

3. unto them that mourn m Zion] Lit. "the mourners of 
Zion," which might mean either "those that mourn for Zion" 
(as Ixvi. 10) or those who mourn in her. But both syntax and 
rhythm demand the excision of these words with the following 
inf., as a marginal variant of "all that mourn; to appoint." 

a garland (lit. "a turban") for ashes] Ashes sprinkled on the 
head were a sign of mourning (2 Sam. xiii. 19); these shall bfe 
replaced by the headdress which betokened dignity or festivity 
(see on v. 10). There is a paronomasia in the Hebrew which 
cannot be imitated in English. 

oil of joy for tnourning] (Omit the art.) As anointing with oil 
was a mark of joy or honour (Ps. xlv. 7, xxiii. 5; I.uke vii. 46), 
so its omission was one of the tokens of mourning (2 Sam. xiv. 2). 

the spirit of heaviness] a failing spirit ; the same word as "dimly 
burning" in ch. xlii. 3. 

that they might be called] Strictly, and they shall be called. 

trees of righteousness] Lit. "oaks" or "terebinths." The ever- 
green tree is a favourite emblem of the life of the righteous : 
Jer. xvii. 8; Ps. i. 3, xcii. 14. 

the planting .. .gloTity himself] See ch. be. 21. 

4 — 9. Restoration, prosperity and honour. 

4. Comp. ch. xlix. 8, Iviii. 12, Ix. 10. 

5, 6. Israel's priesthood among the nations, and the services 

ISAIAH LXI. 5—8 207 

and feed your liocks, and aliens shall be your plowmen 
and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the 1 
priests of the Lord : men shall call 3^ou the ministers 
of our God : ye shall eat the wealth of the nations, and 
^in their glor}/ shall ye boast yourselves. For your 
shame ye sfiall have double ; and for cofifusion they shall 
rejoice in their portion: therefore in their hmd they 
shall possess double : everlasting joy shall be unto them. 
For I the Lord love judgement, I hate robbery -with 

1 Or, to their glory shall ye succeed 
~ Or, for (or with) a burnt offering 

rendered to it l>y the latter. The meaning of course is not that 
all Israelites shall minister in the Temple or that a separate 
sacerdotal order shall not exist (see on the contrary ch. Ixvi. 21) 
but simply that in relation to the Gentiles, Israel shall enjoy a 
position of privilege analogous to the relation between priests 
and laymen. The fundamental idea of priesthood in the O.T. 
being the right of approach to God, this idea is conceived as 
realised in a system which may be likened to a series of concentric 
circles, — priests, Levites, ordinary Israelites, Gentiles, — each 
grade standing nearer to God than the next. It was Israel's 
calling to be a "kingdom of priests" (Ex. xix. 6), and in the 
latter days this destiny will be fulfilled in their mediatorial 
relation to the outer world. Although prophecy in general 
accords a position of supremacy to Israelites in tlie future kingdom 
of God, the distinction is perhaps nowhere so definitely formulated 
as here. 

5. aliens'] Lit. "sons of foreignncss" (see on ch. Ivi. 3). 

6. the wealth of (the) nations'] as ch. Ix. 5, 11. 

in their glory shall ye boast yourselves] So the chief ancient 
\ersions. Another rendering is to their glory shall ye succeed 
(marg.); the exact idea being that Israel and the heathen shall 
"exchange places," the glory that now belongs to the latter being 
transferred to the former. 

7. The first half of the verse, which is not found in LXX., is 
harsh in construction ; and the text as it stands is corrupt. No 
very satisfactory correction has been found. The general sense, 
however, is sufficiently established by the second half : the 
prosperity of the future shall be a twofold recompense for the 
miseries of the past and the present. 

double] in the same sense (mutatis mutandis) as ch. xl. 2. 
everlasting joy] ch. xxxv. 10 (= li. 11). 

8. Jehovah's righteousness demands this reversal of the 
present relations of Israel and the heathen. 

/ hate robbery with iniquity] The translation of the marg. and 

2o8 ISAIAH I.Xl. 8— lo 

iniquity ; and I will give tlu;ni their recomj^ence in truth, 
and I will make an everlasting covenant with tlu^m. 

9 And their seed shall be known among the nations, and 
their olTspring among the peoples: all that see them 
shall acknowledge them, that they, are the seed which 
the Lord hath blessed. 

o I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be 
joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the 
garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe 
of righteousness, as a bridegroom 'decketh himself with 
a garland, and as a bride adorneth herself with her 

' Heb. decketh as a priest. 

.\.Y., "for (a) burnt offering," would shut us up to a wrong 
interpretation of the prophet's thought. The robbery to which 
he refers is not that practi.sed by IsraeUtes on God.(Mal. iii. 8, 9), 
but the iniquitous treatment of Israel by its foes. Instead of 
nVlU (= burnt-offering) we must with CXX. point TOY^ 
(— iniquity). 

an everlasting covenant^ Cf. ch. Iv. 3, lix. 21. 

9. In virtue of this everlasting covenant the blessing of 
Jehovah descends on their offspring (cf. ch. Ixv. 23), compelling 
the admiration of the world. 

10. According to the Targum and some critics the speaker 
here is the Zion of the future ; while Delitzsch and others, who 
assign the preceding words to the Servant of Jehovah, suppose 
that he is still the speaker. If the prophet be the speaker he 
transports himself to a future standpoint, and there is no reason 
why he should not at the same time become the mouthpiece of 
the redeemed community. But we agree with Duhm and 
Cheyne that the verse stands *out of its proper position and 
interrupts the connexion of v. 9 with v. 11. 

garments of salvation etc.] Cf. ch. lix. 17; Ps. cxxxii. 9, 16. 

salvation and righteousness are, as often, synonymous. 

as a bridegroom decketh himself with a garland] (as v. 3). The 
last word denotes a headdress worn by priests (Ex. xxxix. 28; 
Ezek. xxiv. 17, xliv. 18), by fashionable ladies (ch. iii. 20), and 
(according to this passage) by a bridegroom. The verb for 
"decketh himself" means to officiate as a priest (Hos. iv. 6, etc.), 
and its use here ("maketh his headdress priestly") is so peculiar 
as to be suspicious. 

and as a bride... her jewels] Lit. "her implements" ! Instead of 
this somewhat prosaic word (nvj), Ehrlich proposes to read 
n?'''?^, "garland" (after Syriac). 

ISAIAH LXI. lo, II 209 

jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and u 
as the garden causeth the things that are' sown in it to 
spring forth ; so the Lord God will cause righteousness 
and praise to spring forth before all the nations. 

11. as the earth etc.] i.e. as surely as the seed germinates in 
the earth, so surely will Jehovah bring to pass the great redemp- 
tion here promised through the self-fulfilling power of His word. 
Cf. ch. Iv. 10, xlii. 9, xliii. 19, Iviii. 8. 

Ch. LXII. Intercession for the Salvation of Zion, with 
FURTHER Predictions of her Glory. 

Although the chapter is commonly treated as forming along 
with ch. Ixi. a single discourse, it has a distinct character of its 
own, and is perhaps better regarded as the last member of the 
Trilogy commencing with ch. Ix. There are three clearly marked 
sections : 

i. vv. I — 5. The prophet announces his purpose to labour 
unremittingly on behalf of Zion {v. 1), assured that the time is 
at hand when her righteousness shall be manifested to a.11 the 
world, and a new name shall symbolise her new relation to 
Jehovah {vv. 2, 3). Instead of being forsaken and desolate she 
shall be reunited to her Husband and her cliildren, and her God 
shall rejoice over her as a bridegroom over his bride {vv. 4, 5). 

ii. vv. 6 — 9. Even now the prophet sees in vision the walls 
of the city crowned with faithful "watchers," whose function is 
to remind Jehovah unceasingly of His promises to Jerusalem 
{vv. 6, 7). For the encouragement of the " remembrancers " these 
promises are supplemented by the oath of Jehovah, that strangers 
shall -no longer be permitted to rob the community of the fruit 
of its labours {vv. 8, 9). 

iii. vv. 10 — 12. A last summons to "prepare the way of the 
people," i.e. the returning exiles {v. 10). The proclamation has 
gone forth to the end of the world ; Zion's salvation draws near 
and her sentence of rejection is finally reversed {vv. 11, 12). 
This last section is almost wholly made up of reminiscences of 
earlier passages. 

The above division, which is that of_ the Massoretic text, 
seems the most natural, having regard to the order of the thought. 
It is pointed out by Duhm and others that a change of form 
(from trimeter distichs to elegiac rhythm) occurs at y. 4; hence 
vv. 4 — 9 are treated as a separate poem from vv. 1 — 3. But 
the metre of v. 3 appears to us very uncertain; and we venture 
to think that the writer has allowed himself to gUde insensibly 
from the one measure to the other. 



62 F(ir Zidii's sake will I not hold my peace, and for 
Jerusalem's sake 1 will not rest, until her righteousness 
go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that 

2 burnetii. Ancl the nations shall see thy righteousness, 
and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a 
new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. 

3 Thou shalt also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the 
■\ Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou 

shalt no more be termed Forsaken ; neither shall thy 
land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be 
called ^Hephzi-bah, and thy land '^Beulah : for the Lord 

' That is. My delight is in her. - That is. Married. 

1. The speaker here is most naturally to be supposed the 
prophet, although the words are often explained as those of 
Jeho\-ah Himself. This, however, is less probable, in spite of 
the fact that the verb for "hold my peace" is always in these 
chapters, except here and v. 6, used by or of Jehovah (ch. xlii. 14, 
Ivii. II, Ixiv. 12, Ixv. 6); for when Jehovah breaks His silence 
salvation has come. The thought of the verse is entirely 
appropriate on the lips of the prophet who wrote ch. Ixi. 1 flf. ; 
he declares that he will persevere in the course of action there 
described until the year of Jehovah's favour has actually come. 

until her righteousness .. .brightness] i.e. until her right, at present 
obscured, becomes brilliantly manifest (Ps. xxxvii. 6). Comp. 
ch. Ix. 2, 3, Iviii. 8. 

a lamp that burneth] a burning torch. 

2. nations. ..kings...] Cf. ch. Ix. 3. 

a new name] The symbol both of a new character and a new 
relation to God. Cf. Rev. ii. 17, iii. 12, ch. Ixv. 15. 

which the mouth of the Loiid shall name] Rather : shall deter- 
mine (as Gen. xxx. 28). This new name is a mystery (see Rev. 
ii. 17) yet to be disclosed, and is not to be brought into connexion 
with the names of y. 4 and w. 12. 

3. a crown of beauty] There is pr&bably an allusion to the 
mural crown which tutelary deities of cities are sometimes repre- 
sented as wearing, on ancient coins, etc. The prophet for some 
reason hesitates to adopt the heathen image in its completeness ; 
and pictures Jehovah as holding the crown in His hand. 

4. 5. The reunion of Zion with her Husband and her children. 
Cf. ch. xlix. 14 ff., liv. if., 4 ff. 

4. Forsaken] Heb. 'dztlbdh ; found as a proper name in i Ki. 
xxii. 42. Similarly Hephzi-bah (- "dehght in her") is the 
actual name of the mother of Manasseh (2 Ki. xxi. i). 

Desolate] as the contrast to Be'uldh (see on liv. i) must mean 

ISAIAH LXII. 4, 5 211 

delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For 5 
as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons 
marr}^ thee: and ^as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the 
bride, so shall th}' God rejoice over thee. 

^ Heb. with the joy of the bridegroom. 
"deserted by her husband." It would be better to point the 
word as in liv. i (ilDP-'). 

5. so shall thy sons marry thee] The harshness of the con- 
ception is obvious ; and it is hardly relieved by pointing to the 
double meaning of the verb bd'al ("marry" and "possess"). 
Lowth and others, by a slight emendation of the text, read "so 
shall thy Builder (Jehovah) marry thee." (So Cheyne, who refers 
to Ps. cxlvii. 2 [cf. cii. 16]: "Jehovah is the builder up of 
Jerusalem.") See on xlix. 17. 

6, 7. Jehovah hears perpetually the voice of importunate 
intercession ascending for the ruined walls of Jerusalem. TJiis 
is the thought poetically expressed in the two verses, but the 
details of the conception present two difficult questions. In 
the first place, Who are meant by the watchmen, or rather 
watchers? [The word differs from that used in Ivi. 10, Hi. 8 
(= "lookers out") and means literally "keepers" or "guards" 
(Cant. iii. 3, v. 7; Ps. cxxvii. i).] (a) Some hold that it is here 
a name for the company of prophets, but tliis view has little in 
its favour. The function ascribed to the watchers is not prophetic, 
and the word is nowhere else applied to a prophet except in 
ch. xxi. II f., where there is obviously a comparison of the pro- 
phet to a city watchman, {b) Another, but still less probable, 
opinion is that pious IsraeUtes are meant, (c) The best inter- 
pretation is that of tlie Jewish exegetes, that the "watchers" are 
angelic beings, forming the invisible guard of the city. The 
representation, therefore, is purely ideal, and this fact has to be 
borne in mind in considering the second question, Who is the 
speaker in the first half of z;. 6? The prophet could not strictly 
be said to appoint either angelic or prophetic ^watchers; hence 
the prevalent opinion is that Jehovah is the speaker. On the 
other hand it seems unnatural that Jehovah should appoint 
those who are to remind Himself of His own promises, and it is 
certainly the prophet who speaks in the latter part of the verse. 
It might be held that the language is not too bold for the prophet 
to use of himself in describing a scene which belongs to the region 
of the spiritual imagination, just as other prophets do things in 
vision which exceed human capacity (cf. Zech. xi. 7 ff.). Cheyne 
regards the three passages, Ixi. i ft"., Ixii. i ft., and 6 f., as soliloquies 
of the ideal Servant of Jehovah, or rather of that ideal as reflected 
in the mind of a later disciple of- the Second Isaiah ; but that 
view has little plausibility (see the Introductory Note on ch. Ixi.). 


212 ISAIAH LXri. 6—9 

f) I liave set watclimen upcJn thy walls, O Jerusalem ; 

they shall never hold their peace clay nor night : ye that 
7 are the Lord's remembrancers, ^take ye no rest, and give 

him no "^rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem 
s a praise in the earth. The Lord hath sworn by his 

right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will 

no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies ; 

and strangers shall not drink thy ^wine, for the which 
9 thou hast laboured : but they that have garnered it 

shall eat it, and praise the Lord ; and they that have 

gatl\ered it shall drink it in the courts of my sanctuary. 

1 Or, keep not silence ^ Heb. silence. ^ Or, vintage 

6. I have set...wall^'] Another translation might be : "I have 
appointed guardians over thy walls." The verb for "set" means 
strictly "commission," and the thing put in commission is 
expressed by the prep, rendered "upon." On either view, the 
"walls" are the ruined walls of the actual city, rather than those 
of the ideal Zion of the future (cf. ch. xUx. i6). 

ye that are the Loan's remembrancers'] These words are to be 
joined with v. j. 

7. take ye no rest] Lit. " No rest to you ! " 

8. 9. Jehovah has sworn that the Jews shall no longer be 
spoiled by their enemies, but shall be secured in the peaceful 
enjoyment of the fruits of the ground. The phrase "no more" 
seems to imply that at the time of writing the community was 
exposed to the depredations of its hostile neighbours. This 
would be an additional indication of post-exilic authorship, 
which is confirmed by the mention of the Temple courts in the 
end of V. g. 

8. The Loud hath sworn by his right hand etc.] i.e. so surely as 
He has the power to help. Cf. ch. xlv. 23, liv. 9. 

enemies... strangers] Perhaps the Persian officials (Neh. v. 15), 
or the hostile Samaritans or Edomites. 
thy wine] Lit. "new wine," must. 

9. Cf. ch. Ixv. 21, 22. 

171 the courts of my sanctuary] Rather: in my holy courts. 
The allusion is to the festivals in the Temple, where the first- 
fruits were eaten with rejoicing before Jehovah (Deut. xii. 17 f., 
xiv. 23 ff., xvi. 9 — 17). The verb rendered "praise" (hillel) may 
here Have the technical sense of "observe the Hillultm" (Le\\ 
xix. 24, Jud. Lx. 27), — the feast of vintage and fruit-gathering. 

10 — 12. A summons to return from exile. The passage 
resembles ch. xlviii. 20 ff., lii. ri f. ; and at first sight it seems to 
imply that no exodus from Babylon has as yet taken place. This 

ISAIAH LXII. lo. II 213 

Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the 10 
wav of the people ; cast up, cast up the high way ; gather 
out the stones; hft up an ensign ^for the peoples. Be- n 
hold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the 
earth, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy sal- 
vation cometh ; behold, his reward is with him, and his 

^ Or, over 

indeed has been the prevalent view of commentators, based on 
the assumption that the writer is the same as in the two parallels. 
But the secondary character of the passage, betrayed by the 
accumulated citations, is adverse to this hypothesis, and it will 
be seen that the language itself is susceptible of a different 
explanation. It is certain that a return of exiled Israelites is 
announced, but there is nothing to exclude the supposition that 
(as in ch. Ix. 4, 9) the return of those who took advantage of the 
edict of. Cyrus lies behind the prophet's standpoint. 

10. Go through, go through the gates'] To whom are these words 
addressed? The gates might be those of Babylon, in which case 
the passage is the exact counterpart of ch. xlviii. 20 (" Go ye forth 
of Babylon") and lii. 11 ("go ye out from thence"). We might 
suppose the summons addressed to those Jews who still remained 
in Babylon in the time of the Trito-Isaiah, although the next 
clause is not favourable to that interpretation. It is possible, 
on the other hand, that those addressed are the present inhabi- 
tants of Jerusalem, who are invited to prepare for the final 
restoration of the Dispersion. The gates must then be those of 
Jerusalem or of the Temple (so Duhm). 

prepare ve the luay of the people'] In ch. xl. 3 a similar command 
is addressed to angelic beings, and the "way" is that by which 
Jehovah Himself is to return, at the head of His people. Here 
the persons addressed must be the same as in the first clause of 
the verse ; and throughout this section the prophet appears 
studiously to avoid the idea, so prominent in the earlier part of 
the book, of a triumphal march of Jehovah in person through the 
desert to Jerusalem. 

cast up the high way] ch. Ivii. 14. 

lift up an ensign for the peoples] Cf. ch. xlix. 22. 

11. Behold, the Loud hath proclaimed etc.] Cf. ch. xlviii. 20. 
There redeemed Israel is enjoined to declare to all the world the 
great salvation it has experienced ; here Jehovah Himself makes 
it known. 

thy salvation cometh] Instead of "the Lord God shall come" 
in ch. xl. 10. 

behold, his reward is with him etc.] Repeated from xl. 10 (see 
on the passage). The chief ancient versions seem to have felt 

214 ISAlAU LXI!. 11, 12 

^rccompence before him. And they shall call thein The 
holy people, The redeemed of the Lord : and thou shalt 
he called Sought out, A city not forsaken. 

^ Or, work 

the want of a personal antecedent to the pronouns; hence they 
render in the previous clause " thy Saviour" for "thy salvation." 

12. Zion and its people shall then be rccogni.sed in their true 
character by all. 

The holv people] The priesthood of humanity ; ch. Ixi.G. 

The redeemed of the Loud] ch. xxxv. lo [h. lo] ; cf. xlviii. 20. 

Sought oiit] i.e. "much sought after." Cf. Jer. xxx. 17, "This 
is Zion whom no man seeketh after." 

A city not forsaken] See v. 4. 

Ch. LXIII. 1 — 6. The Day of Vengeance in Edom. 

These verses form a detached oracle, representing the final 
triumph of Jehovah'7)ver the enemies of His people. The image 
jiresented is one of the most impressive and awe-inspiring in tlie 
O.T., and it is difficult to say which is most to be adn>ired, the 
dramatic vividness of the vision, or the reticence which conceals 
tlie actual work of slaughter and concentrates the attention 
on the divine Hero as he emerges victorious from the conflict. — 
A solitary- and majestic figure, in blood-red vesture, is seen -ap- 
proaching from the direction of Edom. A question of surprise 
escapes the prophet's lips as he contemplates the singular and 
startling apparition ; and a brief reply comes from afar, indicating 
that the Hero is Jehovah, the Saviour-God of Israel (v. i). The 
prophet then ventures to address himself directly to the advancing 
figure, inquiring the meaning of His crimson-stained raiment 
(v. 2). What follows [vv. 3 — 6) contains Jehovah's answer to 
the prophet's challenge, and the explanation of His strange 
appearance. The day of vengeance, the necessary preliminary 
to redemption, has come and passed {v. 4) ; the foes of Israel 
have been annihilated, as in some vast winepress (vv. 3, 6); and 
this great act of judgement has been accomplished by Jehovah 
alone, no human helper having been found to execute His will 

{V- 5)- 

It was a serious misapprehension of the spirit of the prophecy 
which led many of the Fathers to apply it to the passion and 
death of Christ. Although certain phrases, detached from their 
context, may suggest that interpretation to a Christian reader, 
there can be no doubt that the scene depicted is a "drama of 
Divine Vengeance" (G. A. Smith), into which the idea of pro- 
pitiation does not enter. The solitary figure who speaks in 
vv. 3 ff. is not the Servant of the Lord, or the Messiah, but 
Jehovah Himself (comp. the parallel ch. lix. 16); the blood 


Who is this that cometh from Edom, with ^dyed 63 
garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his 
apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? 
^ Or, crimsoned 

which reddens His garments is expressly said to be tliat of His 
enemies; and the "winepress" is no emblem of the spiritual 
sufferings endured by our Lord, but of the "fierceness and wrath 
of Almighty God" (Rev. xix. 15) towards the adversaries of His 
l-ingdom. While it is true that the judgement is the' prelude 
to the i-edemption of Israel, the passage before us exhibits only 
the judicial aspect of the divine dealings, and it is not permissible 
to soften the terrors of the picture by introducing soteriological 
conceptions which lie beyond its scope. 

1. On Bozrah, a city of Edom, see on ch. xxxiv. 6. 
with dyed garments] Or, with bright coloured garments. The 
word for "dyed," which occurs only here, is thought to mean 
literally "sharp," "piercing." 

The mention of Edom as the scene of a judgement which is 
obviou.sly universal (see vv. 3, 6), including all the enemies of 
Jehovah and Israel, is a feature common to this prophecy and 
that of ch. xxxiv. It is partly accounted for by the embittered 
relations between the two peoples, of which traces are found in 
post-exilic writings (see the note on ch. xxxiv.); and partly 
perhaps by the ancient conception that Jehovah marches from 
Edom to the succour of His people (Jud. v. 4). The reference 
to Edom is nevertheless felt to be a difficulty by many commen- 
tators ; and to get rid of it a clever conjecture of Lagarde is 
approved by several (Duhm, Marti, Condamin and others). The 
first two lines rendered : 

"Who is this that comes reddened (□"nXO) — 
Coloured in his garments more than a vinedresser "l)»3p." 
The textual changes are slight, but Cheyne shewed the sounder 
judgement in rejecting the emendations (so Kittel, Gressmann, 
Littmann and Whitehouse). 

glorious in his apparel] The word for glorious is Ut. " swelling," 
being identical with that which is wrongly rendered "rugged" in 
ch. xlv. 2 (see the note). It is doubtful what is the exact sense 
of the expression "sweUing in his raiment." Duhm's suggestion 
of loose robes inflated by the wind seems a little fanciful. On 
the other hand "beautiful" or "splendid" (LXX. i^paios) conveys 
an impression hardly consistent with the image, since the garments 
of the divine champion are said to be "defiled" by the blood of 
His enemies {v. 3). 

marching] Vulg. gradiens. This however may represent a 
variant reading {zo'ed, cf. Jud. v. 4) which is perhaps preferable 
to the Massoretic text (zo'eh). The Heb. word occurs in the 

2i6 ISAIAH nXIII. 1—3 

2 I that speak in rigliteousness, mighty to save. Where- 
fore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments 

3 like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden 
the winepress alone; and of the peoples there was no 
man with me: yea, I ^trod them in mine anger, and 
trampled them in my fury; and their ^Hfeblood ^is 
sprinkled upon my garments, and I ^have stained all my 

^ Or, will tread... and trample ' Or, strength 

3 Or, shall be * Or, will stain 

difficult passage li. 14 with the sense of "crouching." Those 
who retain it here explain it in various ways with the help of 
the Arabic as a "gesture of proud self-consciousness" (Del.); 
"swaying to and fro"; "with head thrown back," etc. 

/ that speak in righteousness etc.] i.e. "speak righteously" (cf. 
xlv. 19). Jehovah declares Himself to be true in speech, faith- 
fully fulfilling His prophecies, and powerful in deed {mighty to 

2. The meaning of Jehovah's appearing is not yet explained, 
and so the dialogue proceeds. 

Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel] Better : Wherefore Is 
there red on thine apparel; the form of 'the question indicating 
that tlie red colour is not tliat of the vesture itself but is something 
adventitious. "Red" ('ddom) is suggested by Edam, just as the 
figure of the winepress may be suggested by the resemblance of 
Bozrdh (v. i) to bdzh (vintage). The figure, however, is in itself 
an appropriate one; the winepress appearing "as an emblem on 
the coins of Bostra during the Roman rule" (Cheyne, Comm.). 
3 ff. Jehovah's answer, disclosing the reason of His appearing. 
/ have trodden the luinepress] Or, winetrough. The word (piirdh), 
from a root meaning "to foain," seems to be poetic, although the 
only other instance of its use is prosaic enough (Hag. ii. 16). For 
the image of the winepress cf. Lam. i. 15 ; Joel iii. 13. 
and of the peoples there was no man with me^ See v. 5. 
and I trod them etc] The use of past tenses throughout the 
verse is imperatively demanded by the sense, although it requires 
a series of changes in the vowel-points (Vav consec. for simple 
Vav). The reason of the Massoretic punctuation was the desire 
to make it plain that the prophecy relates to the future. This 
of course is true ; but though the event be in itself future, it is 
represented in the vision as past, from the standpoint of the 
speaker. Otherv\dse, the verse would contain no answer to the 
question of y. 2. 

their~Hfeblood] Lit. "their iuice." The word occurs only here 
and in v. 6. is sprinkled] 2 Ki. ix. 33; see on ch. hi. 15. 

/ have stained] Rather: 1 have deflied. (The form in the 

ISAIAH LXIII. 3—6 217 

raiment. For the day of vengeance ^was in mine heart, 4 
and ^the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, 5 
and there was none to help ; and I wondered that there 
was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought 
salvation unto me ; and my fury, it upheld me. And 6 
^I trod down the peoples in mine anger, and *made them 
drunk in my fury, and I ''poured out their lifeblood on 
the earth. 

^ Or, is - Or, my year of redemption 

^ Or, I will tread... and make... arid I will pour out 
■^ Or, according to another reading, brake them in pieces 
^ Or, brought down their strength to the /earth 

original is either, Aramaic or is a half-hearted, attempt to sub- 
stitute an impf. ('iJXIlN') for the original perf. (Tl'^NJ)) 

4. the day of vengeance'] announced in ch. Ixi. z. 
was in tnine hearty i e. in my purpose. 

the year of my redeemed^ Another rendering, preferred by 
many authorities, is the year of my redemption (marg.): the 
plural being taken as expressing the abstract idea, in accordance 
with a common Heb.^usage. The year of redemption is the same 
as the year of Jehovah's favour in ch. Ixi. 2 ; it is the time of 
Israel's victory and salvation, a year that has no end. 

5. Comp. ch. lix. 16. The verse explains why it is that 
Jehovah treads the winepress alone {v. 3). The expectation 
that somB""tTTraTan"helpef"would appear on the side of Jehovah is 
more remarEabte^here than~ti'i ch. H?fr^^, where the judgement 
was on Israel i-fcgp)f gnrl tl-.^ mmplgiint mighf he fhnt ev en within 
the chosen nation no champion of righteousness could be found. 
The idea that such a champion might have been found amongst 
heathen nations is of course much less easily explained ; unless, 
with Duhm, we suppose that the p rophet is sadly contrasting 
his own age witli~ttienmbr^ hopefuPfmie ot tne becOTid Isaiah, 
wheTl the-4m+h" Of Israel was directed to Cyrus *as the agent of 
Jehovah's purposes on earth. 

6. Repetition of the thought of v. 3. 

And I trod down (the) peoples'] The verb differs from either of 
those in y. 3. 

made them drunk] Some MSS., as well as the first printed 
edition of the Hebrew Bible (Soncino, 1488), read "broke them 
in pieces" (see marg.). The Targ. likewise supports this reading, 
which is more suitable to the context than that of the received 
text. The orthographic difference is minute (substitution of 3 
for D). 

and I poured out their lifeblood] as in v. 3. The A.V. 


("strengtli ") tliiiiTs of another noun, similar in form, hut from 
a different root, meaning "glory" (of. i Sam. xv. 29). 

The poem ends in the middle of a distich, and has probably 
been incompletely transmitted. 

Ch. LXIII. 7 — LXIV. 12. A Prayer of the People for the 
Renewal of Jehovah's former Lovingkindness. 

(i) vv. 7 — 10. The prayer begins with thankful commemora- 
tion of Jehovah's goodness to the nation in the days of old (v. 7). 
The reference is to the time of Moses and Joshua, when Jehovah's 
loving confidence in His children had not yet been betrayed {v. 8), 
and when He continuously manifested Himself as their Saviour, 
bearing them safely through all dangers {v. 9). But this ideal 
relation between Israel and its God has long since been broken, 
through the rebellion and ingratitude of the people {v. 10). 

{2) vv. II — 14. Yet in seasons of distress the better mind of 
the nation dwells wistfully on those ancient wonders of grace, 
and longs that Jehovah may again put forth His strength and 
vindicate His glorious name. 

(3) vv. 15 — 19. From the past the writer turns to the gloomy 
present, beseecliing Jehovah to take notice of and have com- 
passion on the affliction of His people ; for He alone, and not 
Abraham or Israel, is the Father of the nation, and its Redeemer 
from of old (vv. 15, 16). With increasing intensity of emotion, the 
prophet remonstrates with God for so withdrawing Himself from 
the people as to harden them in sin (v. 17) and cause them to be 
as if He had never ruled over them (v. 19). 

(4) Ixiv. I — 7. A passionate wish that Jehovah might now 
rend asunder the solid firmament, and melt the mountains, and 
make Himself known to, the nation by terrible acts, .surpassing 
the expectations of His people [vv. i — 3), is succeeded by a more 
reflective strain, as the writer seeks for a reconciliation of Jehovah's 
attitude to Israel with His eternally righteous character. He, the 
only God known who acts for those who believe on Him, is yet 
wroth with His people so that they fall into sin (vv. 4, 5). The 
lamentable consequences of this hiding of God's face on the 
religious condition of the people are described in vv. 6, 7. 

(5) vv. 8 — 12. Final appeal to the Fatherhood of God, and 
His consideration for the work of His hands (v. 8). Let Him 
moderate His wrath and remember that we are His people (v. 9). 
For surely the punishment of sin has been sufficient, — the holy 
cities ruined, Jerusalem a desolation, the Temple burned with 
fire (vv. 10, II). Can Jehovah look on these things and yet 
restrain His compassion (v. 12)? 

So far as itsJd M.s are concerned, this arresting passage might 
have been written at almnt-t iny ppriorl troin iiif K .xiie 7lo wn- 
wards. It is an imp-itigionprl pri.ypr ^vrii|-|g from the heart o f tlie 
community by a long continued experience of adversity, in which 


it jgcog niser] the token o f Jehnvah's HisplpasiTre Its strongly 
marked li tiiyi'ical character suggests that it was composed for 
use in pubhc worshi]>. and occasions to which such a liturgy would 
be suitable were frecpient in the history of post-exilic Judaism. 
The devotional tone and attitude which find expression are algo 
of a kind which, though first born in the sorrows of exile, never- 
theless persisted through many centuries, and are reflected in 
se veral late Psa lms. Along with much that is of the permanent 
essence of prayer — thanksgiving, penitence, confession, suppli- 
cation — the section contains features which are characteristic of 
post> exilic pi , e ty. Specially noteworthy is the plea that the 
sinfulness of the people is due to the excessive and protracted 
anger of Jehovah, who "causes them to err from his ways" 
(Ixiii. 17; cf. Ixiv. 5, 7). This feeling appears to proceed from 
two sources : on the one hand the conviction that national 
calamity is the proof of Jehovah's artger; and on the other the 
lesson taught by the prophets, that the cause of Jehovah's anger 
is the people's sin. The Jewish Church was unable perfectly to 
harmonise these principles. The writer here accepts the verdict 
of Providence on the sins of the nation ; but he feels also a dis- 
proportion between the oft'ence and the punishment, which 
neutralises all efforts after righteousness, unless Jehovah relent 
from the fierceness of His wrath. Yet amidst all perplexities he 
holds fast to the faith in the Fatherhood of God, and appeals to 
the love which must be in His heart, although it be not manifest 
in His providential dealings. 

The historical allusions do not enable us to determine the date 
of the composition with complete confidence. The most baffling 
of these is the statement of Ixiii. 18 that the Holy Land (or the 
sanct uary) has been possessed "but a little while" ; but we s hall 
see tliat tnis is-m a n probabiUty a mistaken readmg, ana may be 
neglected except m so lar as the better text bears witness to a 
desecration of the Temple. More serious is the inference from 
Ixi v. II. that the Temple has been burned wi th fire. It is most 
natural to understand this of the destruction of the city and 
Temple by the Chaldeans in 5S6, and to conclude that the prayer 
was written either during the Exile or at latest before the re- 
building of the Temple in 520. It is to be noted that in Iviv n 
the catastrophe is spoken of as a not just rece nt event ; hence 
the early post-exilic period (between 538 ana 520) is the time 
to which the passage would be most appropriately assigned ; 
and it may be added that this date would be quite consistent 
with the received readi ng of Ixiii. 18 . It is at least certain that 
no other known situation suits the indications of the poem so 
well as this. The age of the Trito-Isaiah is excluded by the fact 
that at that time the second Temple was in existence ; for Duhm's 
explanation that the writer simply ignores the sanctuary of his 
own day because of its inferiority to Solomon's Temple cannot 
be regarded as satisfactory ; and the conjecture that Zerubbabel's 

220 ISAIAH LXIII. 7, 8 

7 I will make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the 
Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that 
the Lord hath bestowed on us ; and the great goodness 
toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on 
tliem according to his mercies, and according to the 

s multitude of his lovingkindnesses. For he said. Surely, 
they are my people, children that will not deal falsely : 

Temple liad been destroyed by the Samaritans before the time 
of Ezra and Nehemiah is incredible in view of the silence of 
liistory. On the other hand nothing is gained by bringing down 
the date of compos itionTsvith Llic yne) Xi} the time of Artaxerxes 
Ochus (c. 350), and co nnectmg Tlic situa tion with a supposed 
destruct ion of t he Temple, of whi ch there is again no evidence. 
It would be better, with Marti arid others, to regard Ixiv. 10 — 12 
as a late addendum written after the destruction of the Temple 
by Antioc hus Epiphancs (i Mace, iv. 3 S), and the rest of the 
passage as the workjjf I nto -isafnTT But on the whole the best 
solution seems to be the one suggested above, — that the prayer 
was composed soon after the Return from Babylon, and that its 
continued use as a litingy c aused it to be incorporated in this 
later post-exilic prophecv. 

7^10. Celebration of Jehovah's past mercies to Israel,- — a 
frequent feature of O.T. prayers (Ps. Ixxvii. 10 — 15, Ixxviii. i — 4, 
Ixxxix. I f., cv. I f., cvi. 2; Neh. ix. 5 ff., etc.). 

7. I 'will make mention ofl Lit. "commemorate," but with the 
implied idea of praise, as i Chr. xvi. 4; Ps. xlv. 17, Ixxi. 16; 
Isa. xxvi. 13, etc. 

the praises of the Loud] the praiseworthy deeds, as ch. Ix. 6. 

according <o] (lix. 18) "as is fitting in view of." 

and the great goodness] Cf. Ps. cxlv. 7, where the expression • 
occurs. But it is better to omit the copula with LXX., and 
render "[Jehovah] great in goodness." 

according to his mercies etc.] Cf. Ps. li. i, — one of several points 
of resemblance, — also Ps. cvi. 45. 

8. The retrospect goes back to the beginning of the nation's 
history, when Jehovah's affection for His people was still un- 
impaired. Cf. H©s. xi. I, "When Israel was a child, then I loved 

For he said] And said, continuing the subordinate clause of 
V. 7. 

children (sons) that will not deal falsely] will not prove ille- 
gitimate. Contrast ch. i. 2, xx.x. g. 

so he was their saviour] and he became to tliem a saviour. 
LXX. adds from the following verse: in all their distress. On 
metrical grounds the addition is an obvious improvement ; and 
it leads to the true explanation of the first part oi v. g (see below). 

ISAIAH LXIII. 8— lo 221 

so he was their saviour. ^In all their affliction he was 9 
afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them : in 
his love and in his pity he redeemed them ; and he bare 
them, and carried them all the days of old. But they 10 
rebelled, and grieved his holy spirit : therefore he was 

^ Another reading is, In all their adversity he was no adversary. 

9. In all their affliction he was afflicted] (lit. " there was affliction 
to Him"). This is the sense of the Qere, which substitutes /d( to 
him) for the 16' (not) of the Kethib (see on ch. ix. 3). It is im- 
possible to obtain a good sense from the consonantal text; and 
it is accordingly rejected in favour of the Qere by nearly all the 
older commentators. There is, however, no equally strong 
expression of Jehovah's sympathy with His people in the O.T. ; 
jDoth Jud. X. 16 and Ps. cvi. 44 fall far short of it. The LXX. 
(joining "in all their affliction" to the previous verse) continues : 
oi' iTp4(jjiv<i oiibk dyyeXos, d\\' avros iawcrev avroi'S ; i.e. Not a 
messenger or an angel — His Presence saved them. There is 
little doubt that this is the right interpretation., The only 
textual difference here is that "l''>' (" messenger " or " ambassador") , 
is read instead of "1^ ("affliction"). It is true that T'V is not 
elsewhere used of an angelic representative of Jehovah ; but the 
metaphor is a natural one, and the rendering is supported by 
several considerations, (a) The "Presence" (ht. "Face") of 
Jehovah is used elsewhere of His self-manifestation. The 
fundamental passage is Ex. xxxiii. 14, 15: "My presence shall 
. go... If thy presence go not, etc." But comp. also Deut. iv. 37 ; 
Lam. iv. 16, and see on ch. Hx. 2. (b) An "angel of the Presence" 
on the other hand is a figure elsewhere unknown to the O.T. ; the 
phrase would seem to be " a confusion of two forms of expression, 
incident to a midway stage of revelation" (Cheyne). (c) The 
"Face" of Jehovah, however, is not (as the LXX. inferred) just 
the same as Jehovah Himself in person. It is rather a name for 
His highest sensible manifestation, and hardly differs from what is 
in other places called the Mal'ak Yahveh (Angel of Jehovah). 
This is shewn by a comparison of Ex. xxxiii. 14 f., with xxiii. 
20 — 23. The idea has its analogies in Semitic heathenism, as 
when at Carthage the goddess Tanit was worshipped as .the 
"Face of Baal," although this has been otherwise explained 
(Euting, Piinische Steine, p. 8). The verse therefore means that 
it was no ordinary angelic messenger, but the supreme embodi- 
ment of Jehovah's presence that accompanied Israel in the early 

and he bare them] Better: took them up, as in ch. xl. 15. Cf. 
Deut. xxxii. 11 ; and see on xlvi. 3, 4. 

10. and grieved his holy spirit] Comp. Acts vii. 51 ; Eph. iv. 

222 ISAIAH LXITI. lo, Ti 

turned to be their enemy, and himself fouglit against 

II them. ^Tlien he rememlxMed the day^ of ohi, Moses, 

(imi liis people, saying, Where is he that brought them 

up out of the sea with the ^shepherds of his flock? where 

' Or, J hen his people remembered the ancient days of Moses crvc. 
- Another reading is, shepherd. 

30. Except here and in d. ii and Ps. h. 11 the predicate "holy" 
is jiever in the O.T. used of the spirit of Jehovah. The spirit is 
lioly in the same sense as Jehovah Himself is holy, — a principle 
which is both pure and inviolable, wliich resents and draws back 
from the contact of human impurity and especially of wilful sin. 
This spirit is a national endowment, residing in the community 
(see w. II); it is the spirit of propliecy, resting on Moses, but 
manifesting its presence also through other organs of revelation 
(see Deut. xxxiv. 9; Num. xi. 25 if.). Hence it is said to have 
led the people (v. 14); and to "grieve" the spirit is to resist his 
guidance, by disobeying the divine word which he inspires. The 
use of this verb marks the highest degree of personification of the 
spirit attained in the O.T. 

11 — 14. In adversity the people realised the privilege they 
had forfeited by their rebellion, and longed for a return of the 
days of jNloses. 

11. Then he remembered etc.'] Since the second half of the verse 
contains what <'ire obxiously words of the people, the subject of 
"remembered" must be Israel, not Jehovah. It might be better 
to read the plu. "they remembered." In the view of many , 
. commentators this subj. is expressed in the following phrase "his 
people" ("Then his people remembered the days of old"). But 
this order of words would be unnatural. 

Moses, and his people] These words are wanting in the LXX., 
and are regarded by some as separate marginal glosses which 
have crept into the text, the first explanatory of "shepherd" and 
the second of "his flock." The text is certainly wrong; but the 
excision of the phrase produces a metrical defect which could 
only be cured by very hazardous expedients. It is perhaps best 
to read with Haller, "Moses his servant (1131^ for V2]i)-" 

Where is he etc.] Better . Where is He that brought up from 
the sea — the shepherd of His flock (i.e. Moses)? This reading is 
easier than that of the Massoretic text; it is supported by Heb. 
MSS., and is followed by the LXX. The plural "shepherds" of 
R.V. represents the received Hebrew text ; but the singular is 
the older and better reading. . The plural was no doubt substi- 
tuted in order to include Aaron (cf. Ps. Ixxvii. 20). 

This turning back of the people's mind to the wonders of the 
Exodus is a hopeful sign of penitence which Jeremiah did not 

ISAIAH LXIII. II— 15 , 223 

is he that put his holy spirit in the midst of them? that 12 
caused liis glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses ? 
that divided the water before them, to make himself an 
everlasting name? that led them tlirough the depths, 13 
as an horse in the wilderness, that they stumbled not? 
As the cattle that go down into the valley, the spirit of 14 
the Lord caused them to rest : so didst thou lead thy 
people, to make thyself a glorious name. Look down 15 
from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy 

discover in the men of his day : "neither said they, Where is the 
Lord that brought us up out of the land of Egypt? " (Jer. ii. 6). 

that put his holy spirit in the midst oj them] Rather : within it, 
i.e. His flock, the community; see on v. 10. Cf. Hag. ii. 5; Neh. 
ix. 20; Num. xi. 17, 25. 

12. that caused his glorious arm... Moses] accompanying him 
with its wonder-working power symboUsed by the "rod of God" 
(Ex. xvii. 9). The reference in the latter part of the verse is 
not, as some have thought, to the bringing forth of water from 
the rock (ch. xlviii. 21 ; Ex. xvii. i — 7) but to the passage of 
the Red Sea. 

13. the depths'] Heb. tehomoth, see on ch. Ii. 10. 

as an horse in the wilderness] treading as lirmly and securely as 
the horse on the open pasture. Comp. the parallelism Ps. cvi. 9 : 
"He led them through the depths as tlirough a pasture-land." 

14. As the cattle that go down into the valley] A second image 
of the security with which Israel went down into the dept^is of 
the sea. The clause has certainly a more forcible sense in that 
connexion than if taken as an illustration of the words which 
follow. The only difficulty is that these words may seem too 
short to stand alone ; but the metrical structure is so confused 
at this point that no great importance can be attached to that 
objection. We should be disposed to transfer the words "like 
a horse in the steppe" from v. 13 to the end of this clause. 

caused him to rest] i.e. brought him (the nation) to the resting- 
place, the Promised Land (Ex. xxxiii. 14; Deut. xii. 9; Josh. i. 
13, etc.). The ancient versions read, perhaps more suitably, "led 

him" (lam.!?). 

so didst thou lead etc.] Summarising the previous description 
and concluding the retrospect. 

15. 16. An appeal to the divine clemency, based on Israel's 
filial relation to Jehovah. 

15. Look down from heaven, and behold] (Ps. Ixxx. 14). By a 

.natural anthropomorpliism the O.T. attributes the prevalence 

of evil on earth to a suspension of Jehovah's watchfulness ; hence 

He is said to come down from heaven to inquire (Gen. xviii. 21), 

224 ISAlAll LXllI. 13—17 

holiness and of thy glory : where is thy zeal and thy 
might}' acts? the yearning of thy bowels and thy com- 

16 passions are restrained toward me. For thou art our 
father, though Abraham knoweth us not, and Israel 
doth not acknowledge us : thou, O Lord, art our father ; 

17 our redeemer from everlasting is thy name. O Lord, 
why dost thou make us to err from thy ways, and hard- 
enest our heart from thy fear ? Return for thy servants' 

or, as liere, to look down (cf. Ps. xiv. 2, cii. 19, etc.). To this 
writer it seems as if He had for the present withdrawn into His 
palace, and did not fully realise the sufferings of His people. 

where is thy zeal (or jealousy)] Cf. ch. lix. 17. 

the yearning of thy bowels] i.e. the yearning of thy compassion. 
See ch. xvi. 11. 

are restrained toward me (LXX. "towards us")] The verb, 
however, is reflexive in form and usage {ci.'v. 11, xlii. 14; Gen. 
xlv. I, etc.); hence it is better to read, with a slight modification 
of the text, restrain not thyself. 

16. For thou art our father] The sentence should be joined to 
the previous verse. Jehovah is the Father of Israel, i.e. the 
Creator and founder of the nation (Deut. xxxii. 6; Mai. ii. 10; 
cf. Ex. iv. 22; Hos. xi. i; Isa. i. 2; Jer. iii. 4, 19; Mai. i. 6). 
The idea of the divine Fatherhood is not yet extended in the 
O.T. to the individual believer, although a remarkable anticipation 
of the N.T. doctrine is found in Ecclus. xxiii. i, 4: "O Lord, 
Father and Master of mj' life,...0 Lord, Father and God of my 
life."* (Cheyne.) 

For Abraham knoweth us not etc.] (a new sentence). Comp. 
li. 2. Duhm is probably right in finding here an allusion to a 
tendency towards ancestor-worsliip in the post-exilic community. 

17 — 19. Expostulation with Jehovah for the hard treatment 
which makes righteousness and true religion impossible to the 

17. Render: Why shouldest thou leave us to wander, O 
Jehovah, from thy ways; — [Why] harden our heart so that we fear 
thee not? etc. Israel had rejected God's guidance, and He had 
given them up to their sins; how long was this to last? The 
idea underlying this plea seems to be that the people's faint 
aspirations Godward were checked and baffled by the continued 
evidence of Jehovah's displeasure. Some measure of outward 
success was needed to guide them into the path of obedience, 
and no such token was vouchsafed. 

hardenest our heart from thy fear] so that we cannot attain to 
the true fear of God, i.e. true religion or piety. "Harden" in. 
the original is a strong word, recurring only in Job xxxix. 16. 

Return for thy servants' sake] Cf. Ps. xc. 13. 

ISAIAH LXIII. 17— LXIV. 2 225 

sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. Thy holy people iS 
possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have 
trodden down thy sanctuary. We are become as they 19 
over whom thou never barest rule; as they that were 
not called by thy name. Oh that thou wouldest rend 64 
the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the 
mountains might ^flow down at thy presence; ^as when 2 
fire kindleth the brushwood, and the fire causeth the 

^ Or, quake ^ [Ch. Ixiv. i in Heb.] 

18. Thy holy people... while] The want of an ace. to the verb 
at once excites suspicion, for it is hardly possible to take "thy 
sanctuary" as the obj. to the verb "possess" (strictly, "inherit"), 
which would naturally be followed by "the land." A sense in 
every way suitable is obtained, with few textual changes, if 
instead of UV It^'T 'W'^l^h, we read 0^1""! ny^ H/^b : "Where- 
fore do the wicked despise thy Holy Place." This ingenious and 
we think successful reconstruction is due to Marti. Condamin, 
agreeing in the main, prefers -Ity^', "tread," to ■liyv. The 
verse thus speaks of a desecration (not a destruction) of the 
Temple. Although the event is not recorded, there is no difficulty 
whatever in supposing that the Samaritans, when they broke 
down the city walls (Neh. i. 3), also entered the Temple courts. 
See, however, on Ixiv. 10, 11, below. 

19. The visible splendours of Jehovah's kingship have been 
absent throughout the later period of the nation's history. 
Comp. ch. xxvi. 13, and (for the second part of the verse) Dent, 
xxviii. 10; Jer. xiv. 9. 

Ixiv. 1 — 3. The language of complaint again gives place (as 
in Ixiii. 15) to -impatient prayer, but now for a theophany — 
an imposing manifestation of Jehovah in His might. It is the 
great "day of the Lord" towards which the desire of the people 
reaches forward. In the Heb., ch. Ixiv. begins with v. 2 of our 
version, v. i forming the conclusion of Ixiii. 19. 

1. Oh that thou wouldest rend etc.] Lit. "hadst rent." So 
"hadst come down," "had quaked." This use of the perf. in 
the expression of a real wish, whose realisation is contemplated, 
is unusual, and is to be explained by the urgency of the speaker's 
feeling. Driver, Tenses, § 140. See on ch. xlviii. 18. 

rend the heavens] Cf. ch. li. 6; Ps. xviii. 9, cxliv. 5. 

might flow down] This rendering, which follows LXX. and 
Vulg., is probal^y correct; but it requires the pointing -V.^ri (as 
Jud. v. 5) instead of -Ipb . The marg. "quake" adheres to the 
Heb. vocalisation, and agrees with Pesh. and Targ. 

as when fi,re...botI] The Heb. here is so uncertain that no 

J2() ISAIAH LXIV. 2—4 ■ 

waters to boil: to make thy name known to thine ad- 
versaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence ! 

3 When thou didst terrible things which we looked not 
for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at 

4 thy presence. For from of old men have not heard, 
nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye ^seen a 

^ Or, seen, O God, beside thee, one which &-l. 

confidence can be placed in the translation. We give a rendering 
of the LXX.. whose text, however, hardly suggests any feasible 
emendations: "If thou wouldst open the heaven, trembling 
from thee will seize the mountains, and they will melt as 
wax melts before fire, and fire shall burn up the adversaries." 
Fortunately the whole line could be omitted without loss to the 

to make thy name known to thine adversaries etc.] — the piir])f)se 
of the theophany. Cf. ch. lix. i8, 19. 

3. The second part of the verse, being (in the original) verbally 
repeated from v. 1, ought to be omitted as a copyist's error. The 
passage gains in compactness by its excision. Vv. 1 — 3 will llien 
form a single sentence, the last clause of wliich runs : while thou 
doest terrible things which we hoped not for (i.e. surpassing all 
our expectations), and which is continued in the first clause of 
V. 4 (see below). 

terrible things'] A standing phrase, as Cheyne remarks, for the 
marvels of the Exodus, the type of 'the great final deliverance. 
Cf. Deut. X. 21 ; 2 Sam. vii. 23; Ps. cvi. 22. 

4 — 7. This difficult passage contains (i) an appeal to that 
which distinguishes Jehovah from all other deities : He is the 
only God who works for them that wait for Him in the way of 
righteousness; (2) a confession of the people's sinful condition 
due to the persistency of the divine wrath. A contrast between 
these thoughts is probably intended ; the severity of Jehovah's 
dealings with Israel seems at variance with His known character. 
But the text is in some places hopelessly corrupt, and the exact 
sense is uncertain. 

4. For from of old. ..heard] It is best (with Duhm) to take this 
as a relative clause parallel to and continuing f . 3 : and which 
from of old men have not heard. There is an awkwardness in 
commencing a new sentence with the next clause, and still greater 
difficulty in carrj'ing on the sentence of v. 3 to the word "seen" 
(Hitzig); but these objections are obviated if we accept the 
Pauline citation in i Cor. ii. 9 as the true LXX., and render: Ear 
hath not heard, nor eye seen a God, etc. (continuing as R.V.). We 
render accordingly : 

ISAIAH LXIV. 4—6 227 

God beside thee, which worketh for him that waiteth 
lor him. Thou ^meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh 5 
righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways : 
behold, thou wast wroth, and we sinned: ^in them have 
we been of long time, and shall we be saved? For we 6 
are all become as one that is unclean, and all our right- 
eousnesses are as a polluted garment : and we all do fade 

^ Or, sparest 

^ Or, in those is continuance, and we shall he saved The text is 
probably corrupt. 

3 a While thou doest terrible things which we hoped not 


4 And which from ( f old men have not heard. 
Ear not heard, Nor eye seen, 

A G. d besides thee, Who worketh, etc. 

worketh for = "sheweth Himself active on behalf of"; without 
obj., as Gen. xxx. 30; Ps. xxxvii. 5. 

5. Thou meetest] The verb pdga' means (a) to encounter, 
(b) to attack, (c) to intercede. None of senses is suitable 
herC; and no satisfactory rendering suggests itself. 

that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness'] i.e. that joyfully worketh 
righteousness. The words rejoiceth and are not in the LXX., and 
are better omitted. Ehrlich reads "that repentetli " (yc for bb')- 

those that remember thee in thy ways'] Cf . ch. xxvi. 8. 

thou wast wroth, and we sinned] Cf. ch. Ivii. 17. For sinned 
we may render "missed the mark" or "stumbled" (Prov. xix. 
2, etc.). 

in them have we been of long time, and shall we be saved ?] The 
text is quite unintelhgible. LXX. has simply 5ia tovto eKXafrjdvfj.ei^. 
The last word suggests a plausible enough emendation (perhaps 
yC'DJI for yti'131). Of further conjectural restorations one may 
be mentioned, due to Lowth. Instead of d'pII? DTM he reads 
D^iypna = "against the evil-doers"; 

"Behold Thou wast wroth, and we sinned. 
Against the evil-doers, and we fell away." 
Somewhat similar suggestions have been made by Wellhausen, 
Cheyne and Marti, but they are all alike unsatisfying. 

6, 7. A pathetic description of the degeneracy and spiritual 
lethargy of the people, caused by the divine wrath. 

6. And we are all become as one that is unclean] in a ceremonial 
sense, like the leper. 

and all our righteousnesses etc.] Our righteous deeds, — our best 
efforts after the fulfilment of the divine will, are stained and 
rendered ineffective bj' our general sinful condition. 

as a polluted garment] Lev. xii. 2, etc. 


228 ISAIAH LXIV. 6—9 

as a leaf; and our iniciuities, like the wind, take us 
7 away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, 

that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee : for thou 

hast hid thy face from us, and ^hast ^consumed us by 
S means of our iniquities. But now, O Lord, thou art 

our father ; we are the clay, and thou our potter ; and 
9 we all are the work of thy hand. Be not wroth very 

sore, O Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever: 

' According to some ancient versions, hast delivered us into the 
power of. 

^ Heb. melted. 

our iniquities, like the wind etc.'] Cf. ch. Ivii. 13 ; Job xxvii. 21, 
XXX. 22. The image is here that of the leaf, already sere and 
faded, swept from the tree by the winter blast: so our iniciiiities 
hurry us away to destruction. 

7. And there is none that calleth etc.] An easily intelligible 

stirreth up himself] "arouseth himself," the same verb as in 
li. 17. 

consumed us by means of our iniquities] Lit. "melted us (?) by 
the hand of our iniquities." Since the verb is intrans., the 
smallest necessary change to bring out this sense is liJUlDni 
for 1331Dni. Cf. Ezek. xxxiii. 10, "Our transgressions and our 
sins are upon us, and we waste away in them, how sliould we 
then live?" Another reading, supported bj' LXX., Pesh. and 
Targ., is l^jJipni : delivered us into the hand (i.e. the power) 
of our iniquities. C f. Job viii. 4. 

8 12. The prayer now- ends in direct and touching supplica- 
ticjn, supported by \arious pleas, that Jehovah will at last cause 
His wrath against His people to cease. 

8. thou art our father] See on Ixiii. 16. 

we are the clay, and thou our potter] The nearest parallel to 
tliis application of the common image of clay and potter is 
perhaps Job x. 9. It is the plea of the creature against seeming 
unreasonableness on the part of the Creator. Can the potter 
allow the work on which he has lavished his utmost slcill and 
care to be broken in pieces? 

9. neither remember iniquity for ever] Ps. Ixxix. 8. The 
nation feels that it is bearing the inexhaustible penalty of past 
sins. Such a thought was specially natural after the Restoration, 
when it appeared as if even the immeasurable calamity of the 
Exile had not wiped out the arrears of hereditary guilt (cf. 
Zech. i. 12). 

10. 11. The evidences of Jehovah's displeasure are to be seen 
on every hand, in the desolation and ruin of the sacred places. 

ISAIAH LXIV. 9—12 229 

behold, look, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. Thy 10 
holy cities are become a wilderness, Zion is become a 
wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and our u 
beau tiful house, where our fathers praised thee, i s burned 
wi th hre; and all our pleasant things are la id waste. 
Wilt Vhon refrain thyself tor the se things. T) Lord? 12 
wilt I^ouJiokLih^^-peace, and afflict us very sore ? 

10. Thy holy cities] is a phrase which does not occur elsewhere, 
and both LXX. and Vulg. substitute the sing, for the plur. It is 
not necessary, however, to follow them. If the land is holy 
(Zech. ii. 12) there is no reason why the epithet should not be 
applied to all its cities. 

11. Our holy .. .house] The reference must apparently be to 
the fir st_ Temple and its destruction by the Chaldeans. The 
expression, and mdeed the whole tone of the passage, suggest 
an event n ot quite recent; it is not the present generation, but 
their fathers who praised God in the "holy and beautiful house." 
The question then comes to be whether this could have been 
said after the erection_ of Zerubba bel's Temple. In spite of the 
tendency to hyperbfiliral lanpiiapp w liir.h marks the prayer, and 
the painful r.nntrast between the magnificence of the first Temple 
and the poverty of the second, it is d ifficult to think (with Duhm) 
that the authl5r should absolutely ignore the existence of the 
sanc tuary if i<- 'larl hppn rp'^ tnred See Introductory Note. 

is burned with fire] Lit. "has become a burning of fire"; 
cf. ch. ix. 5. 

our pleasant things] Rather : our desirable places ; cf . 2 Chr. 
xxxvi. 19; Lam. i. lo; Ezek. xxiv. 21, 25. 

12. refrain thyself] See ch. Ixiii. 15. 

Ch. LXV. Threats and Promises, addressed to Two 
DISTINCT Parties. 

The chapter may be divided into two nearly equal portions : — 

i yy_ I — 12. A contrast is drawn between tli€ servants of 
Jehovah and a party who have apostatised from the true religion. 

(i) vv. I — 7. The divine speaker complains that His gracious 
invitations have^ been scorned by an "obdurate people" (vv. i, 2), 
who have provoked Him continually by scandalous and abomin- 
able superstitions {vv. 3 — 5), and against whom He now pro- 
nounces a final sentence of rejection (vv. 6, 7). 

(2) vv. 8 — 12. The method of Jehovah's dealings with Israel 
illustrated by a figure from the vintage. As the grape cluster is 
spared for the sake of the new wine that is in it, so for the sake 
of the spiritual principle embodied in Israel, Jehovah will "not 
destroy the whole" (v. 8). On the contrary a seed shall be 


brought forth from Jacob to inherit the Holy Land from the 
west to the east {vv. g, lo). The schismatics, here directly 
addressed as they that "forsake the Lord" and repiuhatc the 
Temple worship in their service of strange gods, are threatened 
with extinction. The section ends, as it began, by reminding 
the apostates of the overtures of divine love and condescension 
which they had so wantonly spurned {vv. ii, 12). 

ii. vv. 13 — 25. The final separation of the two classes. 

(i) vv. 13 — 16. The future of the idolaters is more explicitly 
contrasted with that of the "servants" of Jehovah {vo. 13 f.). 
The former shall be annihilated, leaving behind them nothing 
but a name for a formula of imprecation (v. 15) ; while Jehovah's 
true servants remain in the land to "bless themselves in the God 
of truth" {v. 16). 

(2) vv. 17 — 25. The blessings reserved for the people of God 
in the Messianic age : an entire transformation of the conditions 
of human existence, compared to the creation of "new heavens 
and a new earth" (v. 17); Jehovah's delight in His handiwork 
dissipating the sorrows of earth (18, 19); patriarchal longevity 
(20); undisturbed possession of the land (21 — 23); immediate 
answer to praj'er (24); and harmony in the animal world (25) 
are the features of this captivating picture of the latter days. 

In the view of many expositors ch. Ixv. is Jehovah's answer to 
the preceding intercession (Ixiii. 7 — Ixiv. 12). But this connexion, 
as Cheyne has long insisted, is far from obvious and does violence 
to the natural interpretation oi vv. i, 2. The persons there 
referred to are sharply and explicitly distinguished from those in 
whose name the prayer is uttered. The community which in 
Ixiv. 9 says, "We are all thy people" cannot surely have included 
amongst its members the openly pagan party described in Ixv. 
3 ff., 8 ff. And to suppose the meaning to be that Jehovah has 
always been ready to answer prayer, but must first effect a 
separation between the two classes, is very like an attempt to 
force a connexion where none exists. The theory becomes still 
more untenable when we take into account, the extremely close 
resemblance between chh. Ixv. and Ixvi. It is safer to regard 
these two chapters as one continuous discourse, complete in 
itself, and having no special reference to "What immediately 

The situation presupposed by this chapter and the next 
presents many features of great interest and importance. On 
the whole the impression is confirmed that in this part of the 
book we have to do with prophecies delivered in Palestine, at 
a time subsequent to the Restoration. The notes w-ill supply 
some indications of this ; and there is nothing which countenances 
the idea that the author lived among the exiles in Babylon. 
The most important fact is the sharp division of parties, alreadj'^ 
referred to, which runs through the prophecy. This fact may 
be explained in two ways : (i) It may be merely the di.stinction, 

ISATAH LXV. I . 231 

I ^am inquired of by- them that asked not for me; 65 
I -am found of them that sought me not : I said, Behold 
me, behold me, unto a nation ^that was not called by 

• Or, ivas inquired of - Or, was found 

^ Or, as otherwise read, that hath not called upon 

which always existed in Israel, between the godly kernel of the 
nation and the great mass who were addicted to heathen practices. 
The antithesis in this case would be largely ideal, being obvious 
from the point of view of the prophet and those who shared his 
faith, but not recognised by their opponents. But this conception 
hardly corresponds to the state of things revealed by the allusions 
of the prophecy. The separation is open and acknowledged on 
both sides; each party excommunicates the other (Ixvi. 5) ; and 
the apostates maintain an attitude of opposition to the Temple 
at Jerusalem (Ixv. 11). (2) The second theory may better 
enable us to comprehend this situation. It is 'the same as was 
already suggested by ch. Ivii. 3 ff., viz. that the schismatics 
referred to are the half-caste Samaritans and their adherents 
amongst the "people of the land," while the servants of Jehovah 
are the religious and strictly legal party which is known to have 
existed in the time of Malachi, and had been reinforced by the 
arrival of Ezra and his company from Babylon (Ezra ix. i — 4). 
Some points in favour of this view are (a) the Hebrew extraction 
of the party denounced (Ixvi. 5; .see on Ivii. 3); (h) their 
separation from the Temple service (Ixv. 11); (c) the peculiar 
and revolting heathen rites to which they were addicted (Ixv. 
3 — 5, II, Ixvi. 3, 17) implying a degree of religious degeneracy 
not easy to conceive in a purely Jewish society ; (d) their per- 
petuation of the illegal worship of the "high places" (Ixv. 7); 
and (e) the manner in which they are addressed as a distinct and 
well-known body (Ixv. 5, 11, Ixvi. 5). These circumstances may 
not amount to a demonstration of the hypothesis, although in 
conjunction with the presumption of post-exilic authorship they 
invest it with a high degree of probability. 

1, 2. Jehovah's overtures have been rejected by an obdurate 

1. Render: 

I was to be inquired of by those that asked not, 
I was to be found by them that sought me not, etc. 
The first verb in each line is of the form Niphal, which is to be 
understood not as a simple passive, but in its tolerative sense : 
"I let myself be inquired of," i.e. "I was ready to answer," 
exactly as Ezek. xiv. 3, xx. 3, 31, xxxvi. 37: "I let myself be 
found," as ch. Iv. 6. Jehovah's readiness to hear is contrasted 
with the people's unwillingness to pray. 

Behold me, behold me] Cf. ch. xl. 9, xli. 27. lii. 6, Iviii. 9. 

2},! ^ IS.\r.\TT T,XV. T— 4 

2 my name. I haye'siDread out my hands all the day unto 
a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that is not 

3 good, after their own thoughts ; a people that provoketh 
me to m}^ face continually, sacrificing in gardens, and burn- 

4 ing incense upon bricks ; which ^sit among the graves, and 

^ Or, dwell 

that luas not called by my name] We should read as marg., 
changing the vowels in accordance with the old versions: that 
did not call on my name. 

2. spread out my hands] The attitude of supplication (i. 15, 
etc.) ; but here a gesture of invitation. 

a rebellious (refractory, Hos. iv. 16) people] LXX. has ; Xnbv 
dTTtiOovvTa- Kai dyTiM-^cvTa ; and SO the citation Rom. x. 21. The 
metre requires a second epithet. 

a way that is not good] "A not-good way" (litotes) = an 
unwholesome way. The same phrase in Ps. xxxvi. 4 ; Prov. 
x\i. 29. 

The people referred to here are necessarily the same as those 
described in the sequel. If these be the Samaritans or the 
paganised Israelites who had not shared the Captivity the two 
verses seem to reveal an important fact not otherwise recorded. 
The prophetic representatives of Jehovah in the post-exilic 
community must have sought to win over these outcasts to the 
pure worship of Jehovah, and the acceptance of the Law. This 
might appear to be inconsistent with what is told in Ezra iv. i- — 3, 
where the friendly advances of the Samaritans are met with a 
stern refusal on the part of the- Jews. But the contradiction is 
only apparent. The Jewish leaders might very well have de- 
clined the cooperation of these people w-hile they maintained 
their impure religion, and at the same time been willing to 
incorporate them in the Theocracy on the terms offered to 
foreigners in ch. Ivi. 6 f. This in^Ierence, however, is somewhat 
precarious. The verses may describe Jehovah's attitude to the 
nation as a whole throughout its past history; although it was 
only in these last days that their persistent walking "after their 
own thoughts" had culminated in the degraded rites spoken of 
in vv. 3 — 5. 

In Rom. X. 20, 21, St Paul quotes parts of these verses, applying 
V. I to the conversion of the Gentiles and t;. 2 to the unbelief of 
Israel. Possibly this exegesis may have been traditional in the 
Apostle's time (Delitzsch), although the primary sense of the 
passage is that the same persons are referred to througliout. 

3 — 5. Description of their illegal and superstitious cults. 

3. sacrificing in the gardens] Cf. ch. Ixvi. 17, and see on i. 29. 
burning incense upon the bricks] Or. tiles. \Ve have no key to 

the meaning of the expression. Some think the "tiles" denote 

ISAIAH LXV. 4, 5 233 

lodge in the ^ secret places; whi ch eat swine's flesh, a nd 
broth o f abominable things is in their vessels ; which 5 
sa^^ Stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am 

^ Or, vaults 

the roofs of the houses, where sacrifices were sometimes offered 
to false gods (see 2 Ki. xxiii. 12 ; Jer. xix. 13 ; Zeph. i. 5) ; others 
(Hke A.V.) suppose that altars made of bricks are referred -to. 
For an archaeological parallel, see Kennett, Composition of the 
Book of Isaiah, p. 57 f. The word for "burn incense" may mean 
simply "burn sacrifice"; see on ch. i. 13. 

4. which sit... secret places'] The practice of "sitting in 
graves" is undoubtedly rooted in the worship of ancestors 
(Schwally, Das Leben nach dem Tode, pp. 68, 71), and the object 
probably was to obtain oracles from the dead, lodge means 
" pass the night," an allusion to the custom known to the ancients 
as incubation: "ubi stratis pellibus hostiarum incubare soliti 
erant, ut somniis futura cognoscerent " (Jerome). This idea is 
expressed by the LXX. (which runs the two clauses into one) : 
KOifjLuivTai Sia ^vvwvia ; i.e. for the purpose of obtaining dream- 
oracles. But whether the "secret places" are connected with 
the "graves" is uncertain. Ehrlich proposes to read "between 
rocks" (DmV rn for Lj-livn). 

which eat swine's flesh] in sacrificial meals ; in any case a 
violation of the Law (Deut. xiv. 8; Lev. xi. 7). From the fact 
that wild pigs are mentioned in the cuneiform inscriptions 
(Jensen, Zeitschrift fiir Assyriologie, Vol. i. pp. 306 ff.) it has been 
inferred that the Jews were tempted into this during the Exile. 
But the swine was "forbidden food to all the Semites," being 
sacred to more, than one deity, and used in sacrifice only in some 
exceptional rites (W. R. Smith, Religion of the Semites-, pp. 218, 
290 f., 351). It is probably such mystic sacrifices that are here 
referred to ; and there was no place where lax Jews were more 
likely to be entice.d into them than in their own land. 

broth of abominable things] Such creatures as are enumerated 
in Ixvi. 17. The "sacrifices are boiled and yield a magical hell- 
broth" (W. R. Smith, Marriage and Kinship, p. 310). "Broth" 
is the rendering of the Qere {mdrdk, Jud. vi. 19 f.); the Kethtb 
has a word (pdrdk) which might mean "piece" (.sing.), although 
it does not occur elsewhere. 

5. Stand by thyself] Lit. "Draw near to thyself." Cf. 
xlix. 20. 

for I am holier than thou] This construction of the accus. 
suffix is hardly admissible. The verb is to be pointed as Piel, 
and the clause rendered : else I sanctify thee (cf . the similar use 
of the perf. in i Sam. ii 16). The words express no Pharisaic 
sense of superior virtue ; they are addressed by a mystagogue 

2^.\ TSATAH LXV 5—7 

holier than thou : these are a smoke in my nose, a fire 
') that burneth all the day. Behold, it is written before 

nie : I will not keep silence, but will recompense, yea, 
7 I will recompense into their bosom, your own iniquities, 

(see on Ixvi. 17), or at least a member of a special religious 
fellowship, to the uninitiated, warning them against the dangerous 
holiness (taboo) which would be incurred by contact with the 
initiated (cf. Ezek. xliv. 19). (See Nel. of Scni.^ pp. 34',, 357 — 
368.) It is true we have no further evidence of the existence of 
such mystic societies in Palestine at any time. But the whole 
passage (vv. 3 — 5) is unique, and furnishes a startling revelation 
of a state of things without parallel in the O.T., although some- 
thing similar may be inferred from Ezek. viii. 10. Its emergence 
at this particular period is no doubt to be explained by the 
collapse of the old national religions, which was the inevitable 
result of the Assyrian and Babylonian conquests. This naturally 
led to a recrudescence of jirimitive superstitions which had been 
handed down in obscure circles, but had been kept in check so 
long as the public religion of the state retained its vitality {Rel. 
nf Sem^ p. 357 f.). But while this general explanation may be 
suflicient, the situation becomes still more intelligible if we 
suppose the description to apply to descendants of the colonists 
settled by Assyrian kings in Samaria (Cheyne, Introd. p. 369). 

these are a smoke in mv }lose^ If the clause stood alone it would 
be interpreted as a figurative expression of the idea of v. 3 a, — - 
a smoke entering into and irritating the nostrils. The parallel 
clause, however, has led nearly all commentators to understand 
the "smoke" as a symbol of the divine anger (cf. Ps. xviii. 8); 
and to paraphrase the line thus: "these are (the cause of) a 
smoke (proceeding from) my nostrils." This is certainly very 
unnatural. Why should not the second line be subordinate to 
the first, — the continually burning lire being the source of the 
"smoke" as the emblem of provocation? 

a fire that burneth all the day] Probably a citation from Jer. 
xvii. 4; cf. Deut. xxxii. 22. 

6, 7. Sentence is now- pronounced on the reprobates, who by 
their persistent idolatries have served themselves heirs to the 
guilt of their fathers. 

6. it is written before me] The sins mentioned above stand 
recorded in the heavenly books, calling constantly for punishment 
(cf. Jer. xvii. i). Another interpretation, according to which the 
subject of the sentence is the divine decree of judgement, is less 
acceptable, because the following words can hardly be taken as 
the contents of such a decree. 

I will not keep silence until I have recompensed] For the con- 
struction cf. Gen. xxxii. 26; Lev. xxii. 6, etc. 

yea, I will recompense into their bosom] — a new sentence, as is 

ISAIAH LXV. 7, S 235 

and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the 
Lord, which have burned incense upon the mou ntains, 
and ^blaspheme d me uporT the hiUs : IhereTore wiU I 
^ first measure their work into their bosom. 

Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in ; 

■' Or, defied - Or, measnye their former work 

shewn by the Heb. pointing* of the verb as consec. perf.' Cf. Jer. 
xxxii. 18; Ps. Ixxix. 12. There is no occasion to delete the 
clause, with Duhm and others : metre is better preserved by 
omitting the following "saith the Lord." 

7. your own iniquities... your fathers] The change from 3rd to 
2nd pers. is awkward, unless the verse could be detached from 
the preceding and regarded (down to "hills") as an exclamation. 
This is far from natural ; the better construction is that of the 
E.V. which makes "iniquities" the obj. to "recompense." It is 
probably necessary (with the LXX.) to read "their" in both 
cases. The iniquities of the fathers are indicated in the following 

which have burned incense (have sacrificed, — see on i. 13) upon the 
mountains'] The reference is obviously to the illegal worship of 
the "high places" or local sanctuaries, which is denounced in 
similar terms in Hos. iv. 13; Ezek. vi. 13; cf. Ezek. xviii. 6 (if 
the text be right, — see Davidson on the passage in Camb. Bible 
for Schools). That this form of idolatry was also practised by 
those here spoken of is in every way probable (see ch. Ivii. 7) ; 
on the other hand their ancestors, the pre-exilic Israelites, could 
not be charged with the more heinous offences described in vi 
3 — 5. These last, however, were the outcome of the same 
idolatrous tendency which formerly shewed itself in the worship 
at the high places, and the judgement now about to^ descend on 
the children is called forth both by their own guilt and by that 
of their fathers. 

therefore will I first measure their reward] The word for 
"first" (ri'shonah), if genuine, must be rendered as an adverb, 
as in Jer. xvi. 18 ("and first I will recompense their iniquity," 
etc.). But it is not found in the LXX., and is better omitted. 

into their bosom] i.e. the bosom of the garment (Ruth iii. 15); 
cf. Jer. xxxii. 18. 

8 — 10. In spite of the gross idolatries denounced in the 
preceding section there is that in Israel which makes it precious 
in the sight of Jehovah, and ensures for it a brilliant future. 

8. In the figure, the grape cluster represents the nation as a 
whole, including many unworthy members, the "new wine" 
{tirosh, "must") is the spiritual kernel of the nation, here called 
"my servants" ; and the truth taught is that for the sake of the 
latter "the whole" shall not be annihilated in the judgement 

236 ISA TAT I I.XV. 8— ii 

the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not, for a blessing 
is in it : so will I do for my servants' sakes: that I may 
9 not destroy them all. And I will bring forth a seed out 
of Jacob, and out of Judali an inheritor of my moun- 
tains : and my chosen shall inherit it, and my servants 

ic shall dwell there. And Sharon shall be a Mold of flocks, 
and the valley of Achor a plac^ for herds to lie down in, 

1 1 for my people that have sought me; BuTye that forsake 

' Or, pasture 

that is to come. It is an application to new circumstances of 
Isaiah's doctrine of the Kemnant (ch. vi. 13). 

The words Destroy it not, for a blessing is in ii are believed, 
from their rhythm, to be the first line of one of the vintage songs 
often referred to in Scripture (cf. Jud. ix. 27; Isa. xvi. 10; Jer. 
XXV. 30, xlviii. 33, etc.). It has further been conjectured that 
the words "Destroy not" {'al tashhelh) in the headings of four 
psalms (Ivii., Iviii., lix., Ixxv.) refer to this song, naming its 
melody as the tune to which these psalms were to be sung (W. K. 
Smith, 0. T. in Jewish Church-, p. 209). 

that I may not etc.] Lit. "in not destroying the whole." 

9. When a separation is effected the true Israelites shall 
possess the land (ch. Ivii. 13, Ix. 21). 

a seed] Cf. ch. vi. 13, liii. 10. 

my mountains] The mountain land of Palestine, an Isaianic 
phrase (ch. xiv. 25). shall inherit it] i.e. the land. Khythm 

seems to require that this word be inserted. 

shall dwell there] Dillmann infers from the adv. "there" that 
neither the prophet nor his hearers lived in Palestine ; but the 
argument cannot be sustained. "There" may be said of a place 
just mentioned, irrespective of the speaker's relation to it. Thus 
in ch. xxxvii. 33 Isaiah says that the king of Assyria "shall not 
.shoot an arrow there," referring to Jerusalem ("this city") where 
he was living. 

10. Sharon] (in Heb. always with the art.) the northern part 
of the Maritime Plain, from near Carmel to Joppa, varying in 
breadth from 6 to 12 miles. (For a description see G. A. Smith, 
Hist. Geogr. p. 147 f.) 

the valley of Achor] Josh. vii. 24, xv. 7; Hos. ii. 15. One of 
the valleys (not identified) running up into the mountaifis from 
the Jordan depression somewhere near Jericho. The names are 
mentioned as the extreme limits, W. and E., of the land to be 
inherited by the servants of Jehovah, 

for my people that have inquired ol me'] in contrast to those 
spoken of in y. 1. 


the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare 
a table for ^ Fortune, and that fill up mingled wine unto 

^ Heb. Gad. See Gen. xxx. 11. 

11, 12. A renewed threat against the apostates, with a further 
allusion to'their idolatry. 

11. But ye that forsake etc.] The whole verse is a descriptive 
anticipation of the object of the verb "destine" in v. 12. 

that forget my holy mountain'] The expression might denote 
either simple indifference to the welfare of Zion (cf. Ps. cxxxvii. 5), 
or deliberate abstention from the Temple ritual. The second 
view implies residence in Palestine at a time when the Temple 
services were in full operation ; hence the other is necessarily 
adopted by all who hold the prophecy to have been written in 
Babylon. It is absolutely impossible to decide w^hich is right, 
but those who recognise a Palestinian colouring throughout the 
chapter will naturally prefer the second as the more forcible 
interpretation, and find in it some confirmation of their theory. 

that prepare a table etc.] Render : that spread a table for Gad, 
and fill up mixed wine (see ch. v. 22) to Meni. The rites described 
are the lectisteriiia, well known throughout the ancient world, in 
which a table was spread, furnished with meats and drinks as a 
meal for the gods (Liv. v. 13 ; Herodot. i. 183 ; Ep. of Jeremiah, 
vv. 27 f. ; Bel and the Dragon, v. 11; cf. Jer. vii. 18, xix. 13, 
xliv. 17: I Cor. X. 21). A parallel in the O.T. religion is the 
Shewbread in the Temple (or Tabernacle), Ex. xxv. 30, etc. 
Gesenius remarks that the description of the complete lectisternium 
extends over both members of the parallelism, and infers that 
the two deities were worshipped together. This is probable, 
being in accordance w'ith ancient custom (Liv. v. 13), but the 
laws of Hebrew parallelism hardly permit us to say that this must 
be the meaning. 

That Gad and I\feni are divine proper names is universally 
acknowledged, although neither has quite lost its appellative 
signific ation and both _are^ here pointed wit h the article. Gad 
means "^pd fort une : he i s_personmed luck. The existence 
of a Syriaji_god_QLJ±LLS_nanie (orTKe^Greek equivalent Ivx^) is 
well estaHished, and his worship is proved to have extended over 
a very wide area (see Baethgen, Beitrage zur Sem. Rel.-Gesch. 
pp. 76 — 80). It appears that the evidence is most copious 
amongst the Greek inscriptions of the Hauran (note the proximity 
to the Hebrew tribe of Gad) where there must have been numerous 
temples in his honour. But the name occurs also in Phoenician 
and Palmyrene inscriptions, and on coins of several cities, 
including Ashkelon, while a temple to the "Fortune" of Gaza 
is known to have existed in that city (Baethgen, p. 66). The 
place-names Baal-Gad (at the foot of Hermon, Josh. xi. 17, 

^^S ISAIAH LXV. 11—14 

12 U)estiny; I will destine you to the sword, and ye shall 
all bow down to the slaughter : because when I called, 
ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but 
\e did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that 
wherein I delighted not. 

ij Therefore thus saith the Lord (joD, Behold; my ser- 
\-:int< ^luill I'ui b]if ^^w^j;^^^* be hungry : behold, my 
servants shall drink, but ye shafrbe thirsty : behold, my 

14 servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: behold, 

^ Heb. Meni. 

xii. 7, xiii. 5) and ^ligdal-Gad (in Judah, Josh. xv. 37) seem to 
shew that his worship was practised in Palestine proper-. There 
are besides frequent references in Syriac and later Jewish, litera- 
ture ; a Syriac writer of the 5th century mentions that lectistcrnia 
were still prepared for Gad in his time. The Jewish interpreters 
identified Gad with the planet Jupiter, called by the Arabs "the 
greater I^uck," but this association may be more recent than our 
passage (Baethgen). Meni {Meni) has left fewer traces. He is 
possibly identical with the goddess Manat, one of the three chief 
divinities of the pre-Mohammedan Arabs (Koran, Sura liii. 19 — 
23). A personal name 'Abdmem {— Servant of Meni?) has been 
found on coins of the Achaemenida;, but the accuracy of this is 
doubted by some (Delitzscli, Schrader in Riehm's Handworter- 
buch). The meaning of the word is "Destiny," and the god has 
been identified with the planet Venus, "the lesser Luck" of tlie 
• Arabs. It is quite as likely, however, that Meni is the antithesis 
of Gad, — the god of evil destiny [Observe that in the LXX. 
Gad is Aai/uofioi' and Meni Tt'-x??-] Nothing has yet been dis- 
covered to connect these deities with the Babylonian pantheon. 
Some think they may be Hebrew equivalents of Babylonian 
names (Dillmann), others that their worsliip was transported 
from Syria to Babylon (Baethgen); while Kennett suggests that 
the names are translations from the Greek (Ti'X'? and MoZpa) (up. 
cit. p. 59 f.). These are speculations, but the actual evidence 
points to Western Asia as the natural environment of this cult. 

12. / will destine yon etc.] There is a play upon words 
between the verb for "destine" {mdnah) and Meni in v. 11. 

because when I called etc.] See on vv. i, 2. Although this 
reproof seems more directly addressed to contemporaries, the 
alternative explanation tliere suggested is not necessarily ex- 

but ye did that which was evil in mine eyes etc.] n-xactly as 
ch. Ixvi 4. 

13 — 1&. Contrast between the fate of these apostates and that 
of Jehovah's servants. 

ISAIAH LXV. 14— 1 6 239 

m}.' servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall 
cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for 1 vexation of 
spirit. And ye shall leave your name for '^a curse unto 15 
my chosen, and the Lord God shall slay thee; and he 
shall call his servants by another name: so that he who 16 
blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the 

1 Heb. breaking. - Heb. an oath. 

14. joy of heart] Cf. Deut. xxviii. 47. 

vexation of spirit] Lit. breaking of spirit ; contrast the diHerent 
sense of "broken of heart" (ch. Ixi. i). 

15. Their names shall be used in a formula of imprecation. 
Comp. in illustration Jer. xxix. 22: "And from them shall be 
taken a curse for all the captivity of Judah... saying, 'Jehovah 
make thee like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of 
Babylon roasted in the fire ! ':' Have we such a formula quoted 
in the clause following, "and the Lord Jehovah shall slay thee"? 
It is objected (i) that the formula W'Ould be incomplete, the 
essential words — "like so-and-so" — being omitted; (2) that the 
."and" is unaccounted for, while to remove it would leave a perf. 
with a precative sense, a usage which is very doubtful in Heb. 
(Driver, Tenses, § 20). On the other hand, the use of 2nd pers. sing, 
rather favours the view that the words are meant as a specimen 
of the curse. Perhaps Marti is right in thinking that the words 
(which overburden the metre) were supplied by a glossator for 
tlie purpose we have indicated. 

and he shall call his servants by another name] The LXX. (Cod. 
Vat.), with slight modifications of the text, reads: "And on my 
servants shall be called a new name " (ro'ts de SovXevovcrL /xoi KXi-jOricreTaL 
oi' Kaifuv). The Kaivov is no doubt a free translation; but the 
change of "his" to "my" is an obvious improvement, and may 
safely be adopted. The promise must not be taken too literally, 
nor too closely connected with the preceding threat. It is hardly 
conceivable that the prophet contemplates the abrogation of the • 
name "Israel," because it has been degraded by unworthy 
Israelites (Cheyne, Comm.). This would be implied only if the 
name "Israel" were that which is to remain for a curse, which 
is a too violent interpretation. The "other name" is contrasted, 
not with that- which both parties had borne in common, but with 
names such as "Forsaken," which describe the present condition 
of the true believers. Cf. ch. Ixii. 2, 4, 12. 

16. so that] as Gen. xi. 7; Ps. xcv. 11 ; Mai. iv. i, etc. 

he who blesseth himself in the land] i.e. "who invokes a ble.ssing 
on himself" ; cf. Gen. xxii. 18, xxvi. 4. xlviii. 20; Jer. iv. 2. 

shall bless himself by the God of truth] using such expressions as, 
"May the God of truth bless me." By the fulfilment both of His 

240 ISAIAJI LXV. iG— 19 

God of ^ truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall 
swear by the God of ' truth ; because the former troubles 
are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. 

17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and 
the fomier things shall not be remembered, nor come 

18 into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that 
which I create : for, behold, I create Jerusalem a re- 

.19 joicing, an d_ her peop le a joy. And I will rejoice in 

' Hcb. Amen. See 2 Cor. i. 20, Kev. hi. 14. 

threatenings and His promises Jehovah will have shewn Himself 
to be the God of truth, so that a blessing uttered in His name is 
certainly effective. God of truth is strictly "God of Amen" 
(marg. ; of. 2 Cor. i. 20; Rev. iii. 14), but this is a too artificial 
phrase for so early a period. Read 'omen {= " truth," "fidelity "). 

swear by the God of truth] Cf. ch. xlviii. i. 

the former troubles are forgotten] See Rev. xxi. 4. 

hid from mine eyes] A reminiscence probably of Hos. xiii. 14. 

17 — 25. The last .sentence of v. 16 inspires the loftiest flight 
of the prophet's imagination: The "former troubles sliall be 
forgotten" in the glories of a new creation, in which all things 
minister to the welfare of Jehovah's regenerate people. 

17. new heavens and a new earth] i.e. a new universe, Hebrew 
having no single word for the Cosmos (cf. ch. Ixvi. 22 ; 2 Pet. iii. 
13; Rev. xxi. i). The phrase sums up a whole aspect of the 
prophetic theology. The idea of a transformation of nature so 
as to be in harmony with a renewed humanity has met us several 
times in the earlier part of the book (ch. xi. 6 — 9, xxix. 17, xxx. 
23 ff., xxxii. 15, xxxv., etc.), and is a frequent theme of prophecy, 
but the thought of a new creation is nowhere expressed so 
absolutely as here. It may have been suggested to the propliet 
by ch. li. 6, where it is said that the present universe shall be 
dissolved, although it is doubtful if that verse contains more 
than a metaphorical expression of the transitoriness of the 
material in contrast with the spiritual. Here there can be no 
doubt that the words are to be interpreted literally. At the 
same time the new creation preserves as it were the form of the 
old, for the next verse shews that a new Jerusalem is the centre 
of the renovated earth. 

the former things] The reference may be specifically to the 
"former troubles" of v. 16, or generally to the old state of things 
which shall have vanished for ever. 

nor come into mind] Lit. " come up on the heart," as Jer. iii. 16, 
vii. 31, etc. The phrase is characteristic of the book of Jeremiah. 

19. I create Jerusalem a rejoicing etc.] i.e. either an object in 

ISAIAH LXV. 19—21 241 

Jerusalem, and jo}^ in my people: and the voice of 
weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of 
crjdng. There shall be no more thence an infant of 20 
day s, nor a n old man tha t hath not till ed his days : for 
the child sfiali die an hundred years old, and the sinner 
being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And 21 
they shall build houses, and inhabit them ; and they 

which one may rejoice (v. 19, ch. Ix. 15) or an abode of joy (ch. 
li. 3, Ixi. 7). 

19. God Himself rejoices in the new city and people; cf. 
Ixii. 5. 

and the voice of weeping etc.] Cf. ch. xxv. 8, xxxv. 10. 

20. Amongst the blessings of the new people of God the chief 
shall be a miraculous extension of the term of human life. This 
is the dominant idea down to the end of v. 22. The expression 
of the thought is unaccountably, laboured and obscure. 

mi infant of days] can hardly mean one who has lived only a 
few days ; for that would imply that children would no more be 
born. The Heb. accents join the following "and old" to this 
clause, giving the sense "one young in years, but old," i.e. a 
prematurely aged man. 

that hath not filled his days] (cf. Gen. xxv. 8; Ex. xxiii. 26; 
Job V. 26), i.e. none shall become prematurely old ; each shall 
attain the allotted measure of hfe according to the standard 
which shall then be normal. 

for the youth shall die an hundred years old] Death at the age 
of 100 (if such a thing took place) would be looked on as an 
untimely death in extreme youth, and a special mark of the 
divine anger on' a career of wickedness (Job xv. 32, xx. 5). 

and the sinner etc.] Or, And he that falls short of 100 years 
shall be accursed, — omitting the word ben in the Heb. and taking 
liote, in its primary sense of missing a mark (Buhl, Ehrlich). 

It is evident that the idea of immortal life is unknown to the 
writer. He looks forward to a restriction of the power of death, 
but not to its entire cessation. The same idea is probably implied 
in a prophecy of the early post-exilic period (Zech. viii. 4 ; see on 
ch. xxv. 8); and a conception precisely similar is characteristic 
of the first section of the Book of Enoch. See Charles, Book of 
Enoch, pp. 26, 55, 98. Comp. En. v. 9: "And [the elect] will not 
be punished all the days of their life, nor will they die of plagues 
or visitations of wrath, but they will complete the full number 
of the daj^s of their life, and their lives will grow old in peace, 
and the years of their joy will be many, in eternal happiness 
and peace all the days of their life." Cf. also x. 17 and xxv. 4, 5. 

21. 22. In consequence of this extension of the term of life, 
each man shall enjoy the fruit of his own labour (cf. Deut. xxviii. 


2^2 ISAIAH LXV. 21—25 

22 sliall jihint vineyards, and cat the fruit of them. They 
shall not build, and another inhabit ; they shall not 
plant, and another eat.: for as the days of a tree shall 
be the days of my people, and my chosen shall ^long 

23 enjoy the work of tiicir hands. They shall not labour 
in vain, nor bring forth foi; ^calamity ; for they are the 
seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring 

24 3 with them. And it shall come to pass that, before they 
call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, 

25 I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, 
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox : "and dust shall 
be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy 
in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord. 

1 Heb. wear out. - Or, sudden terror 

3 Or, shall be with them 

30). The idea is therefore somewhat different from that of 
ch. Ixii. 8, 9. 

22. as the days of a tree] Cf. Ps. xcii. 12, 13. 

>«v chosen shall long enjov etc.] Lit. "shall wear out," "use 
up" (Job xxi. 13). 

23. They shall not weary themselves for vanity] ch. xlix. 4; 
Hab. ii. 13; because God's blessing rests on them. 

nor bring jorth (sc. children) /or sudden destruction] Jer. xv. 8; 
Ps. Ixxviii. 33. 

and their offspring with them] Better perhaps as a complete 
sentence: and their offspring shall be with them (marg.) ; many 
generations Uving together. Cf. Job xxi. 8. 

24. Cf. Dan. ix. 21. 

25. A last feature of the new earth is the peace which shall 
reign in the animal world. See on ch. xi. 6 — 9, from which this 
verse is quoted. The second and fourth hnes are cited literally 
from xi. 7, 9, the first is a condensation of xi. 6, 7 a. The only 
clause not represented in the original passage is the third line: 
and dust shall he the serpent's meat, an allusion to Gen. in. 14. 
Duhm, partly on metrical grounds, reiects these words as a gloss. 

Ch. LXVI. The Eternal Blessedness of the True Israel; 
THE Doom of the Apostates. 

This chapter continues the antithesis that runs through ch. Ixv., 
carrying it onward to its eschatological issues. The connexion 
of ideas is frequently extremely difficult to trace, and no two 
critics are agreed as to where the different sections begin and end. 


The contents of the passage, however, may be exhibited as 
follows : 

i. vv. I — 4. The chapter begins witli a remarkable declaration 
against a formal and unspiritual ceremonial. Addressing those 
who contemplate the erection of a Temple in His honour, Jehovah 
points out how inadequate any earthly house must necessarily be 
to His majest3^ and reminds them that the only worship accept- 
able in His sight is that wliich proceeds from a humble, contrite 
and reverent spirit (vv. i, 2). How little this condition is fulfilled 
by those referred to is shewn by a rapid survey of the superstitious 
practices which, in direct defiance of the divine law, they seek 
to combine with the service of Jehovah (v. 3). Sentence is 
pronounced against them on account of their disobedience 

ii. vv. 5 — 17. Ihis passage is marked by unusual and 
perplexing disconnectedness of _ subject. Duhm's metrical 
analysis jdelds no satisfactory result ; and attention to the 
abrupt transitions of thought suggests that we have to do with 
extensive dislocation of the text. Thus, v. 17 most naturally 
joins on to v. 5, and the two may be an incomplete strophe of 
the same prophecy as vv. 1 — 4, foretelling the doom of the apos- 
tates. Again, vv. 15, 16 seem to continue v. 6, — an announce- 
ment of the Day of the Lord, when He shall appear in fire and 
tempest to take vengeance on His enemies. Lastly, the inter- 
vening section, vv. 7 — 14, may be regarded as a fragment of 
an independent poem in two unequal stanzas: viz. vv. 7 — 9 
(the sudden and marvellous increase of the population of 
Jerusalem), and vv. 10 — 14 (an invitation to all true-hearted 
Israelites to rejoice in her felicity, and share in her corsolation). 

iii. WW. 18 — 22. The judgement is followed b}' a manifestation 
of Jehovah's glory to all nations (v. 18). The survivors of the 
nearer nations, who have witnessed the catastrophe, shall be 
sent as messengers to the more distant countries (v. 19) ; these 
shall then voluntarily bring back to Zion the dispersed Israelites 
(v. 20); and from amongst them (the restored exiles or the 
converted heathen?) some shall be chosen as ministers of the 
sanctuary (v. 21). Israel, thus reconstituted, shall be as enduring 
as the new heavens and earth which Jehovah is about to create 
{v. 22). — This whole section appears to be unmetrical in form, 
and prosaic in style ; hence it is somewhat doubtful if it was the 
original conclusion of the Trito-Isaiah. 

iv. vv. 23, 24. The universality of the true religion, expressed 
inadequately in terms of the old dispensation as a monthly and 
weekly pilgrimage of all nations to the sanctuary at Jerusalem 
{v. 23); with a closing reference to the appalling fate reserved 
for the impenitent rebels against Jehovah (v. 24). It is almost 
universally agreed that these two verses are a late addition to 
the book. 

1, 2. Jehovah, who fills and has created heaven and earth, 

16 — 2 

244 ISAIAH LXVT. 1—3 

66 Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my tlirone, and 
the oarth is my footstool : what manner of house will j^e 

2 build unto me? and what place shall be my rest? For 
all these things hath mine hand made, and so all these 
things came to be, saith the Lord : but to this man will 
I look, even to liim that is poor and of a contrite spirit, 

3 and that trembleth at my word. He that killeth an ox 

" dwelleth not in temples made with hands." Comp. the citation 
in Acts vii. 48 ft., also i Ki. viii. 27; Jer. xxiii. 24. 

1. The heaven is my throne'] Ps. xi. 4, ciii. 19. 

the earth is my footstool] Elsewhere the Temple itself (or the 
ark) is spoken of as Jehovah's footstool; Lam. ii. i ; Ps. xcix. 5, 
cxxxii. 7; I Chr. xxviii. 2. 

ci'hat manner of house etc.] Ratlier : what kind of house is it 
which ye would build for me? and what sort of place is my 
resting place? (Ps. cxxxii. 8, 14). This rendering is on the 
whole preferable to that of A.V. ("where is the house, etc."), 
although the latter is grammatically possible. It would be a 
great mistake (with Duhm and Ehrlich) to point DlpO as con- 

2. all these things] i.e. the heavens and the earth, the whole 
visible creation. That the phrase refers to the Jerusalem Temple 
or the Jewish community with its religious institutions (Duhm 
and several others) is a thoroughly unnatural supposition. 

but to this man will I look (have regard) etc.] Cf. ch. Ivii. 15. 

contrite is lit. "smitten " ; it is the same word which is rendered 
"broken" or "wounded" (of the spirit) in Prov. xv. 13, xvii. 22, 
xviii. 14. In aU the other passages where "contrite" is found 
in the E.V. (ch. Ivii. 15; Ps. xxxiv. 18, li. 17) it represents a 
formation from another root, meaning "to be crushed." 

trembleth at tny word] Cf. v. 5 ; Ezra ix. 4, x. 3. 

The principle enunciated in these two verses is obviou.sly one 
which, if consistently applied, would lead to the abandonment 
of local worship in an earthly sanctuary, and of the entire system 
of ceremonial religion connected with it (as in Acts vii. 48 ff.). 
The difficulty is to ascertain the precise application of it which 
the prophet has in mind here. It seems evident from v. i that 
his argument is directed against some actual contemporary 
project for the erection of a "house" for the worship of Jehovah. 
To say that he merely deprecates theoretically the building of 
a sanctuary by men such as those addressed, destitute of the 
spirit of true worship, does not meet the case ; he has in view a 
definite practical design, the execution of which he opposes. The 
only question is whether the reference be to the rebuilding of 
the Temple at Jerusalem, or to the erection of a rival sanctuary 
at another place, (i) In the case the passage would be 


a protest in favour of a purely spiritual religion, without sanctuary 
or sacriiice, — an anticipation of our Lord's great saying in 
John iv. 24. This has been the opinion of some scholars (in- 
cluding Wellhausen) ; and apart from the implied opposition to 
the rebuilding of the Temple it is the view which does fullest 
justice to the language of the verses. It is no doubt conceivable 
that a solitary voice might have been raised against that enter- 
prise, either in prospect of the near Return from F-'abylon, or at a 
later time (c. 520) when the prophets Haggai and Zechariah were 
agitating for the immediate restoration of the Temple. But there 
is absolutely no trace of such an attitude in the whole of the post- 
exilic literature ; and it is certain that neither the second Isaiah 
nor any of his successors (least of all the Trito-Isaiah) could have 
used the words in that sense (see xliv. 28, Ivi. 5, 7, Ix. 7, Ixvi. 6, 
20 f., etc.). (2) On the assumption that the chapter was written 
towards the close of the Exile, Hitzig and others not unnaturally 
supposed the reference to be to a desire on the part of some 
among the exiles to set up a temple of Jehovah in Babylonia. 
That explanation, however, is contrary to all we know of the 
state of mind of the Jews in Babylon and the theory loses all 
its plausibility when the second Isaiah's authorship is abandoned. 
(3) If the verses were written by a Trito-Isaiah (as we are entitled 
to assume in the absence of indications to the contrary), the view 
that most commends itself is that of Duhm and a majority of 
recent critics; viz. that the oracle is directed aga'inst a project 
of the Samaritans to erect a rival temple to that of Jerusalem. 
We know that such a temple was actually built on Mount Gerizim, 
— whether about 430 B.C., as is generally inferred from Neh. xiii. 28 
(see Ryle's note), or about 330 as is stated by Josephus — and it 
is to be supposed that the idea had been mooted some time 
previously. The theory is no doubt open to some objections. 
It may be felt that if the erection of a schismatic temple were 
contemplated, the reference would be much more explicit than 
is actually the case. Again, it is true that the argument employed 
would tell equally against the Jerusalem Temple itself. These 
difficulties, however, are not insuperable. As regards the last, 
it is to be observed that the prophet's assertion must in any case 
be qualified by the fundamental principle of Jewish religion that 
the validity of every act of worship rests on the positive enact- 
ment of Jehovah. While Jehovah needs no human service. He 
is graciously pleased to accept it if rendered in accordance with 
His expressed will. Now this sanction had been bestowed on 
the one sanctuary at Jerusalem, but could not possibly belong 
to any temple built elsewhere. Th^ erection of such a temple 
could only be justified on the assumption that man could 
arbitrarily assign a dwelling-place to the Most High, and to shew 
the futility of this assumption is the purpose of the prophet's 
lofty declaration. — The question turns partly on the interpretation 
of w. 3. If that verse is rightly understood to mean that the 

24t) ISAIAH LXVr. 3 

is as he that slayeth a man ; lie that sacrificeth a lamb, 

worship of the parties spoken of was infected by degrading 
superstitions, it is highly probable that the persons described are 
the Samaritans, and in that case it will follow almost of necessity 
that these are also addressed in f. i'. 

3a. The first part of the verse runs literally thus: "The 
slaughterer of the ox, a slayer of a man; the sacrificer of the 
sheep, a breaker of a dog's neck ; the offerer of an oblation, — 
swine's blood ; the maker of a memorial of incense, one that 
blesseth vanity (ie. an idol)"; — four legitimate sacrificial acts 
being bracketed with four detestable heathenish rites. The first 
member of each pair is probably to be taken as subj., the second 
as pred., of a sentence. But this leaves open a choice between 
two interpretations, (a) That the legal sacrificial action is as 
hateful in the sight of God as the idolatrous rite, so long as it is 
performed by unspiritual worshippers, or at an unauthorised 
sanctuary, (h) That he who does the first scries of actions does 
also the second, i.e. combines the service of Jehovah with the 
most hateful pagan rites. It is extremely difficult to decide 
which is the true sense. The word "a>" in R.Y. is supphed by 
the translators, but the rendering is a perfectly fair one. But 
there is nothing in the text to suggest an immediate reference 
to tlic projected heretical temple ; and apart from some such 
restriction the statement (a) would go far beyond any other 
utterance in the O.T. in repudiation of sacrifice. One fact that 
favours the second explanation (b) is that the latter part of the 
verse speaks of those who "delight in their abominations." 
This would seem to imply that the abominations enumerated 
were actually practised by certain persons, who at the same time 
claimed to be worshippers of Jehovah. Cf. v. 17, Ixv. 3 — 5, 
Ivii. 3—9. 

as he that slayeth a man] The reference may be either to 

1 See Introduction, p. xliv f. It has recently been suggested (by 
Haller) that the allusion may rather be to a temple outside Palestine, 
such as that at Yeh (Elephantine) in Egypt (see Note in Vol. i. 
pp. 162 ff.). The temple of Yeb, itself, however, must have been built 
before the Exile, and was not destroyed till 411, which is considerably 
later than the date usually assigned to Trito-Isaiah ; and we have as yet 
no eviiience of the erection of other Jewish temples in Egypt or else- 
where at that time. It is certainly an interesting fact that the authorities 
of Yeb, when repulsed at Jeru.salem. turned to Samaria for support ; 
and it may well have been that the existence of the Egyptian temple 
formed an argument for the erection of one at Samaria. There is no 
doubt that the prophet's "attitude to a foreign temple would have been 
the same as is here expressed ; but on the wliole the relations between 
the Eg)'ptian colony and Samaria tend to strengthen the presuntption 
that a Samaritan temple is the direct object of the prophet's polemic. 

ISAIAH LXVI 3, 4 247 

as he that breaketh a dog's neck; he that offereth ^an 
oblation, as he that offereth swine's blood; he that 
^burneth frankincense, as he that blesseth an idol: yea, 
they have chosen their own ways, and their soiil de- 
lighteth in their abominations ; 1 also will choose their 4 
^delusions, and will bring their fears upon them ; because 
when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they 
did not hear : but they did that which was evil in mine 
e5'es, and chose that wherein I delighted not. 

1 Or, a meal ojfering ^ Heb. makcth a memorial of. 

' Or, mockings 

murder or to human sacrifice; most probably the latter, since 
every other member of the sentence expresses a religious act. 
That human sacrifice was actually^ perpetrated by those spoken 
of may be inferred from ch. lvii.-5. 

breaketh a dog's neck] "This sacrifice... .seems... to be alluded 
to as a Punic rite in Justin xviii. i. 10, where we read that 
Darius sent a message to the Carthaginians forbidding them to 
sacrifice human victims and to eat the flesh of dogs : in the con- 
nexion a religious meal must be understood." (W. R. Smith, 
Rel. of the Semites^, p. 291.) The whole paragraph should be 
consulted for other important references to the sacredness of the 
dog amongst the Semites. See also the note in Cheyne's Com- 
he that offereth an oblation (see on ch. i. 13) (offereth) swine's 
blood] (See on ch. Ixv. 4.) A verb (participle) must have dropped 
out of tiie original. 

burneth frankincense] marg. maketh a memorial of incense. 
The Heb. verb (hizkir) is connected with 'azkdrdh, the technical 
name of the part of the meal offering which hiid to be burned 
with incense on the altar (cf. Lev. ii. 2, xxiv. 7). 

blesseth an. idol] Lit. "vanity," but the rendering rightly 
expresses the sense; cf. ch. xli. 29. 

3 b. yea, they have chosen etc.] These clauses form the protasis 
tow. 4. Render: As they have chosen... (i;. 4) so will I choose, etc. 

4. / also will choose] with the same shade of meaning as in 
V. 3 ("will find satisfaction in"). "The Orientals are fond of 
such antitheses" (Gesenius). 

delusions] Perhaps insults ; see on ch. iii. 4. Cheyne renders 
expressively "freaks of fortune," remarking, "the word is very 
peculiar : it represents calamity under the figure of a petulant 

their fears] i.e. "that which they fear," and strive to avert by 
their magical rites. 

because when I called etc.] Repeated from ch. l.xv. 12. 

248 ISAIAH LXVI. 5—8 

5 Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his 
word : Your bretlircn that hate you, that cast you out 
for my name's sake, have said, Let the Lord be glorified, 
that we may see your joy; but they shall be ashamed. 

6 A voice of tumult from the city, a voice from the temple, 
a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompence to his 

7 enemies. Before she travailed, she brought forth ; before 
S her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who 

hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? 

5. A promise to the believing Jews., that they shall speedily 
witness the discomfiture of their enemies and persecutors. The 
verse may be the beginning of a new strophe of the same poem 
as vv. I — 4 ; but the connexion is immediately broken, and is 
perhaps resumed in v. 17. 

ye that tremble at his word] — thus fulfilling the condition of 
V. 2. The "word" of 'the Lord is that spoken by the prophets, 
and the "trembling" of these devout liearers expresses their 
scrupulous anxiety to conform with its requirements. 

Yotir brethreri] Men of the same stock with yourselves. The 
term could be used of the Samaritan community, composed as 
it largely was of rnen of Israelitish descent and, in part, probably 
of Jews wiio had been spared in the general deportation of the 

that hate yoii] Cf. ch. Ivii. 4. 

that cast you out] Perhaps "that put you far away" (in 
aversion). Comp. the use of the word in Am. vi. 3 ("that put 
far away the evil day"). In later Heb. it means to excommuni- 

Let the Loan etc.] Render (pointing the verb as Niph.) : "Let 
Jehovah shew Himself glorious that we may see your joy." 
In the mouth of the schismatics, this is a sarcastic allusion to the 
enthusiastic hopes entertained by the pious Jews of a manifesta- 
tion of Jehovah to their foy. Cf ch. v. ig. 

hut they shall be ashamed] ch. Ixv. 13. 

6. Description of the sudden outbreak of Jehovah's destructive 
might from His city and sanctuary (cf. Am. i. 2; Joel iii. 16; 
ch. xxxiii. 14). Harlt! an uproar from the city! Hark, from 
the temple ! Hark ! 'Tis Jehovah rendering recompence (see 
on lix. 18) to His enemies. That these words presu]>pose the 
existence of the Temple is the only natural interpretation. The 
thought of the verse is resumed in vv. 15, 16; the verses im- 
mediately following pass abruptly to a different subject. 

7 — 9. The sudden repopulation of the city by her children. 
The figure is taken from ch. xlix. 17 — 21, liv. i ; the fact set 
forth being the instantaneous return of the exiled Israelites, by 

ISAIAH LXVI. 8—12 249 

Shall a land be ^born in on© day? shall a nation be 
brought forth at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, 
she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the 9 
birth, and not cause to bring forth ? saith the Lord : 
shall I that cause to bring forth shut the ivomhl saith 
thy God. 

Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all ye 10 
that love her : rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn 
over her: that ye may suck and be satisfied with the n 
breasts of her consolations ; that ye may milk out, and 
be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus 12 

' Or, travailed with for but one day 

which, without effort, the poor and striigghng Jewish comnmnity 
becomes at once a great nation. 

8. Shall. a land etc.] Render : IShall a land be travailed with 
in ons day? For "land" in the sense of "population" there do 
not seem to be any real parallels (Judg. xviii. 30 being hardly 
a case in point) ; but neither metre nor grammar justifies Duhni's 
insertion of the word for "people" ('am). The impersonal con- 
struction of the Heb. passive (see Davidson, Syiit. § 79) explains 
the discord of gender. 

9. Comp. ch. xxxvii. 3 : "the children are come to the birth, 
and there is not strength to bring forth." But in this crisis 
Jehovah Himself is present, and what He begins He will carry 
on to its marvellous issue. 

The verse deecribes in a figure the condition of the community 
since the edict of C^^rus, — a period of protracted birth-throes (9 a), 
or (g b) a birth (the restored Israel) followed by barrenness 

10. 11. Invitation to the sorrowing children of Zion to rejoice 
in their mother's consolation. 

10. that mourn over her] Cf. ch. Ivii. iS, Ixi. 2, 3. 

11. Comp. ch. Ix. 16. 

abundance] The Heb. word (fT) is of uncertain interpretation. 
It is found again only in Ps. 1. 11, Ixxx. 13 in the phrase "beast 
of the field" (zzz sdday). It is doubtful, however, if the word 
there be identical with that in this verse. A perfect parallelism 
(with "breast") would be obtained if we might translate by 
"teats," Ewald, Cheyne and several others adopt this trans- 
lation, Ewald without remark, Cheyne with a reference to the 
Assyrian and the vulgar Arabic, where a word zizdh is sai-d to 
mean "udder" (see his Conim. p. 174, and Origin of the Psalter, 
p. 472 f.). Ehrlich would read VT, late Heb. and Aram, for 

250 JSAIAII LXVI. 12—15 

saitli the Lord, Bclioltl, i will extend peace to her like 
a vWcv, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing 
stream, ^and ye shall suck thereof; ye shall be borne 

13 upon the side, and shall be dandled upon the knees. As 
one wliom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; 

14 and ye shall be comfort(xl in Jerusalem. And ye shall 
see it, and your heart shall rejoice, and your bonces shall 
flourish like the tender grass : and the hand of the Lord 
shall be known toward his servants, and he will have 

15 indignation against his enemies. For, behold, the Lord 
will come ^with fire, and his chariots shall be like the 

^ Or, then shall ye suck, ye &c. - Or, itr 

12 — 14. A promise of prosperity to Jerusalem and her 

12. / will extend (cf. Gen. xxxix. 21) peace. a river\ See 
ch. xlviii. 18. 

the glorv of the nations] the wealth of nations. Cf. ch. Ix. 5, 
Ixi. 6. 

and ve shall such'] Rather: and their (or her) sucklings, pointing 
with LXX. Drif??^"! (or still better nni?^!), and joining the word 
to the following clause. 

home upon the side (sec on Ix. ^)...the knees] As in Ix. 4 (xlix 
22) the children of Zion are represented as carried and nursed by 
the Gentiles. 

dandled] The passive of the verb rendered " j^Iay " in ch. xi. 8 ; 
"delight" in ch. v. 7 (R.V. marg.) is a cognate noun. 

14. And ye shall see it etc.] r-ecalling ch. Ix 5. 

your bones shall flourish like the tender grass] i.e. shall be fresh 
and full of sap (cf. Job xxi. 24 ; Prov. xv. 30). So when the 
strength is exhausted by sickness, the bones are said to be con- 
sumed or burn (Ps. xxxi. 10, xxxii. 3, cii. 3; Lam. i. 13). 

and he will have indignation] A.V. "and his indignation" 
would be a better construction if we might supply the suffix for 
"his" (so Duhni). But the sentence may have been inserted to 
smooth the transition to the next verse. 

15, 16. In fire and tempest — the accompaniments of the 
theophany — Jehovah appears to take vengeance on His enemies. 
There may be a connexion with the last clause of v. 14 ; but the 
verses read like a continuation of v. 6. Comp. ch. .xxix, 6, xxx. 
27 ff. ; Ps. 1. 3. 

15. with fire] in fire. Cf. Deut. v. 22 ff. 

and his chariots shall be like the whirlwind] Cf. Hab. iii. 8; 
Ps. Ixviii. 17. The image is derived from the storm-clouds on 
which Jehovah rides; ch. .xix. i; Ps. xviii. 10, Ixviii. i^; Deut 

ISAIAH LXVI. 15—17 251 

whirlwind ; to render his anger with fury, and his rebulve 
with flames ot fire. For by fire will the Lord plead, 16 
and by his sword, with all flesh: and the slain of the 
Lord shall be many. They that sanctify themselves 17 
and purify themselves ^to go unto the gardens, ^ behind 

^ Or, in '■'■ Many ancient authorities have, one after another. 

xxxiii. 26.' The phrase is appUed in Jer. iv. 13 to the Scythians 
(or Chaldeans). 

16. by fire. ..plead] i.e. "enter into judf<ement," as Ezek. 
xx-Kviii. 22 ; Joel iii. 2. Comp. also Am. vii. 4. 

by hi.'- sword] See ch. .Kxvii. i, xxxiv. 5, 6. 

the slain of the Loiw shall be manv] Cf. Jer. xxv. 33 ; Zeph. 
ii. 12 (Heb.). 

17. A renewed description of the apostates, in terms similar 
to V. 3, Ixv. 3 — 5, II. Although the judgement is "with all 
flesh" it has a special significance for these reprobates. The 
connexion of v. 17 with v. 16 is not, however, bej'ond suspicion. 
It looks rather like a continuation of v. ^. 

to go unto the gardens] for the gardens, i.e. in order to go into 
the sacred gardens (ch. Ixv. 3) where the illegal rites were to be 
consummated ("ad sacra in lucis obeunda"). 

behind one in the midst] A difficult and much disputed phrase 
The insertion of the word "tree" (marg. and A.V.) is purely 
gratuitous, and indefensible. If the consonantal text be sound 
the best rendering is after one in the midst ; i.e. following the 
actions of a hierophant or mystagogue, who stands in the midst 
of the brotherhood and regulates the important ceremony of 
purification. Comp. Ezek. viii. 11, "...seventy men of the elders 
of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah 
the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand." 
There does not appear to be any valid objection to this inter- 
pretation, although it is not supported by any ancient authority. 
The Massoretes substitute the fem. of "one" for the masc, 
thinking apparently of the image of some goddess as the central 
object. (The Babylonian Codex and the Soncino Bible have the 
fem. in the te.xt.) Many commentators, guided by a faulty 
reference in Macrobius {Saturn, i. 23), have supposed that the 
word for "one" ("inxV contains the name of a deity; but this 
_view, although revived by Lagarde, finds little favour among 
modern scholars. Several ancient versions (Pesh., Sym., Theod.) 
render "one after another" (Targ. "company after company"), 
which would be possible if we might insert an additional THn* 
(ins ~l^^^ TPl.s), but it leaves "in the midst" unexplained. 
Clieyne (Intmd. p. 370) reads with Kloatermann "j^n^ TPIX inx 
— "one (consecrating) the other on the tip of tlie ear"; an 

25-! ISAIAH LXVJ 17, 18 

^one in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomina- 
tion, and the mouse ; they shall come to an end together, 
18 saith the Lord. For I know their works and their 
tlioughts : Hhc iinie cometh, that I will gather all nations 
and tongues; and they shall come, and shall see my 

' Or, one tree (or Asherah; see Deut. xvi. 21) 

- Many ancient authorities have, / come to gather cS-c. 

ingenious emendation, but hardly yielding an easier sense th.ui 
the received (consonantal) text as understood above. 

sivi He's flesh] ch. Ixv. 4. 

the abomination] Heb. shekez, the general name for unclean 
animals; Lev. vii. 21; xi. 10 ff. (passim); cf. Ezek. viii. 10. 
(Duhni reads unnecessarily shSrez, 'vermin," creeping or swarm- 
ing creatures.) 

the mouse] An unclean animal according to Lev. xi. 29. Of the 
23 species of small rodents included under the name in Palestine, 
several are esteemed edible by the. Arabs (Tristram, Nat. Hist. 
pp. 122 ff.). The allusion here without doubt is to sacrificial 
meals, the mouse being a sacred anirnal in. the same sense as the 
swine and the dog. See W. K. Smith, Bel. of Sem.^ p. 293; who 
mentions a statement of Maimonides that the Harranians 
sacrificed field-mice. 

shall come to an end] See on next verse. 

18 — 22. The extension of the knowledge of Jehovah's power 
to the outlying nations, and theii consequent voluntarj' surrender 
of the Israelites exiled among them. 

The first sentence of v. 18 is untranslateable as it stands, and 
the text is certainly' corrupt. A good suggestion is made by 
Duhm. He transfers the phrase " their works ^ind their thoughts" 
to the last clause of v. 17 ("their works and their thoughts to- 
gether shall come to an end"); then, dropping the fern. term, of 
the paiticiple, the remaining sentence reads. And I am coming 
to gather all the nations and tongues. Both verses are thus 
improved, and the new section beginning here is disentangled 
from its misleading association with the idea of judgement. 

18. all nations and tongues] An expression characteristic of 
the Aramaic part of the book of Daniel (ch. iii. 4 and parallels); 
cf. also Zech. viii. 23. 

they shall come, and shall see my glory] i.e., probably, the visible 
supernatural glory of Jehovah as He dwells in the "Temple. See 
Ezek. xliii. i — 4. (The section contains many traces of the 
influence of the book of Ezekiel.) The idea that the nations 
shall assemble to be destroyed by Jehovah (Zech. xiv. 2, 12. ff. ; 
Joel iii. 2 ; /eph. iii. 8) is alien to the tenor of the verse and is not 
necessarily implied by v. 19. 

ISAIAH LXVT. 1 8, 19 253 

giory. And I will set a sign among them, and T will- 19 
send such as escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, 
Pul and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, 
to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither 
have seen my gloiy ; and they shall declare my glory- 

19. / ivill set a sign among them] i.e. perform a miracle (ch. \-ii. 
11) that shall convince them of Jehovah's divinity. 

/ will send .. .them] I will send from them escaped ones, 
survivors (cf. xlv. 20) of the judgement depicted in w. 16. The 
purpose is to spread the tidings of Jehovah's glory. 

to Tarshish... Javan] All these names are taken from the book 
of Ezekiel; see xxvii. 10, 12 f., xxxviii. i, xxxix. i. So Duhm, 
who thinks the whole line is a gloss. Tarshish = Tartessus ; 
see on ch. ii. 16. A name Pul occurs nowhere else, and it is 
doubtless here a clerical error for Put (so LXX. 4>o(n5). Phut 
and Lud are mentioned together in Jer. xlvi. 9; Ezek. xxvii. 10, 
xxx. 5; and in Gen. x. 6, 13 both peoples are connected genea- 
logically with Mizraim (Egypt). Probably therefore two African 
nations are denoted. 

that draw the bow] The bow is mentioned as the weapon of the 
Lydians (Lud) in Jer. xlvi. 9. But a descriptive phrase in the 
middle of the list is unexpected, and a closer examination of 
the text gives ground for suspicion. The LXX. reads Moaox 
(Meshech). This is attractive, because of the resemblance to 
mosheke (drawing), and because Meshech and Tubal are nearly 
always associated (Gen. x. 2; Ezek. xxvii. 13, xxxii. 26, etc.). 
They are the Moschi and Tibareni of^ classical writers, the Muski 
and Tabal of the Assyrian monuments, tribes lying south and 
south-east of the Black Sea (Schrader, Cun. Inscr. pp. 82, 84). 
If the reading of the LXX. be adopted it will be necessary to 
find an equivalent for kesheth (bow) ; and Duhm suggests Rosh 
from Ezek. xxxviii. i, xxxix. i (see Davidson's Note). 

Javan (^'Id/wf)] the lonians, is the Hebrew name for the 
Greek race. 

the isles (coastlands, ch. xl. 15) afar off, that have not heard my 
fame etc.] This distinction between the nearer nations who have 
experienced something of the greatness of Jehovah, through 
contact with His people Israel, and the remoter nations who have 
not heard His name, seems to have originated with the prophet 
Ezekiel. It underlies the conceptioft of the invasion of Gog's 
host and its destruction as described in ch. xxxviii. f. Gog is 
the leader and representative of the outlying nations of the earth, 
and the demonstration of Jehovah's power against them falls at 
a time subsequent to the peaceful settlement of Israel in its own 
land, and long after judgement has been executed on the neigh- 
bouring states which had been in contact with Israel throughout 

2.54 ISAIAH LXVI. 19—21 

20^1111011^ the nations. And they shall bring all your 
brethren out of all tlie nations for an offering unto th(' 
l.oKD, njion horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and 
upon mules, and u])on ^ swift beasts, to my lioly mountain 
Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel 
bring their offering in a clean vi'ssel into the house of 

21 the Lord. And of them also will I take for priests and 

^ Or, dromedaries 

its history (see Davidson, Ezekiel (Camb. Bible), pji. 273 fl.). But 
while the distinction is common to the two prophets, the develop- 
ment of the idea is strikingly different. In Ezekiel Gog's 
ignorance of Jehovah tempts him to an act of sacrilege on the 
land of Israel, which is avenged by the annihilation of him and 
his host. The spirit of this passage is more evangelical. Jehovah 
sends missionaries from the nearer nations to those who have 
not heard His fame nor seen His glory ; and the report carries 
conviction to their minds, so that they restore the Israelites 
exiled amongst them, as an offering to the Lord. 

20. The subject of the sentence may be either the nations 
(cf. ch. xlix. 22, Ix. 9, xiv. 2) or the "escaped ones"; those 
addressed are the Jews. 

litters] Elsewhere only in Num. vii. 3 (in the phrase "covered 

swift beasts] dromedaries (marg.). 

21. A7id of them also will I take etc.] Commentators differ 
in opinion as to whether the ministers of the sanctuary are to be 
taken from the restored exiles or from the Gentiles who bring 
them back; the language is consistent with either supposition. 
The latter is thought by some to be excluded by Ivi. 6 f. (shewing 
the utmost limit of concession to foreigners), and Ixi. 6 (where a 
priestly standing is assigned to the Jews). These considerations, 
however, are not decisive ; and the emphasis of the statement is 
perhaps better explained by the bolder conception. In any case 
the prophet seems to contemplate a suspension of the provisions 
of the Law, for the words "I will take" .suggest something more 
than that those who are priests and Levites by birth shall be 
permitted to exercise their hereditary functions. 

for priests and for Levites] Strictly, "for the priests, for the 
Levites," implying that they were to be given for the service of 
the priests and Levites. But the article should probably be 
omitted, and the rendering of E.V. retained. The conjunction 
"and" is supplied by all the versions and some MSS. The 
duplication of the preposition distinguishes the expression from 
a characteristic phrase of Deuteronomy (see Driver on Deut. 
xviii. i), so that we cannot (without a change of te.xt) render 

ISAIAH LXVI. 21—24 255 

for Levites,, saith the Lord. For as the new heavens 22 
and the new earth, which I wi]] make, shah remain 
before me, saith the Lord,, so shall your seed and your 
name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one 23 
new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, 
shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. 
And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of 24 
the men that ha\'e transgressed against me : for their 
worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched ; 
and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. 

"for Levitical priests." Nothing would be gained by such an 
alteration, for the adj. "Levitical" in this connexion would be 
a meaningless addition. 

22 Comp. Jer. xxxi. 35 f., xxxiii. 25 f. 

the new heavens and the new earth'] ch. Ixv. 17. 

23, 24. Month by month and week by week all flesh shall 
come to Jerusalem to worship, while the dead bodies of the 
rebellious Israelites shall remain as a fearful spectacle and an 
abhorring to all flesh. 

23. Comp. Zech. xiv. 16. from one new moon to another etc.] 
Lit. "as often as (ch. xxviii. 19) there is a new-moon on its new- 
moon, etc.," i.e. apparently "at each separate new-moon, etc.," 
— a peculiar idiom found also in Num. xxviii. 10, 14. 

24. .And they (the worshippers) shall go forth] to some place in 
the vicinity of Jerusalem, no doubt the Valley of Hinnom, 
Neh. xi. 30; cf. Josh. xv. 8, xviii. 16; 2 Chr. xxviii. 3; Jer. 
vii. 32; 2 Ki. 'xxiii. 10. (See below.) 

the men that rebelled against me] The apostates so often 
referred to in the last two chapters, or their successors in a later 

for their worm shall not die etc.] (see below) Judith xvn. 17; 
Ecclifs. vii. 17; Mark ix. 44 ff. 

an abhorring'] The Hebrew word {dercl'on) occurs again only 
in Dan. xii. 2. 

This verse is the basis of the later Jewish conception of Gehenna 
as the place of everlasting punishment (see Salmond, Christian- 
Doctrine of Immortality, pp. 355 — 360). Gehenna is the Hebrew 
Ge-Hinnom (Valley of Hinnom), the place where of old human 
sacrifices were offered to Molech (Jer. vii. 31 f., et passim), and for 
this reason desecrated by king Josiah (2 Ki. xxiii. 10). After- 
wards it became a receptacle for filth and refuse, and Rabbinical 
tradition asserts that it was the custom to cast out unclean 
corpses there, to be burned or to undergo decomposition. This 
is in all probability the scene which had imprinted itself on the 
imagination of the writer, and which was afterwards projected 


into the unseen world as an image of endless retribution. The 
Talniudic tiieology locates the mouth of hell in the ValJey of 
Hinnom. But how much of the later theology lies in tiiis passage 
it is difl&cult to say. Nothing is expressly said of torment 
endured by the dead, but only of the loathsome spectacle they 
present to the living ; although the former idea may be implied 
and is suggested by a comparison with ch. 1. 1 1. "If this passage 
is of too early a date, as Dillmann thinks, to admit of a reference 
to the horrors of the Valley of Gehinnom, the deuble figure of 
the worm and the fire may be duo t o the two ways of disposing 
of the d e a tr, By mtermcnt and by cremation. The immediate • 
object of the description of the worm as never dying and the 
fire 3s never being quenched, appears to be to mark tlie destina- 
tion of those men as a perpetual witness to the consuming judge- 
ments of God, and one which all flesh may see. The incongruity 
of the idea of a fire burning a dead body and never going out, is 
supposed, however, to point to something more.... It may be 
that the dead body is poetically conceived to be conscious of 
the pains of the worm and the fire, as Dillmann supposes [cf. 
Job xiv. 22]. But even that goes bej'ond the immediate object, 
which is to present the men in question as a perpetual spectacle 
of shame to all beholders" (Salmond, I.e. p. 212). The view thus 
expressed is reasonable if the passage was written by the author 
of the preceding chapters. But there is much to be said for the 
opinion that the last two verses are an appendix to the prophecy, 
written at a much later time, so that the language may to some 
extent be saturated with the ideas which were afterwards 
associated with the word Gehenna. 

In Heb. Bibles and MSS. part of v. 23 is repeated (without the 
vowel signs) after v. 24, in accordance with a Massoretic direction, 
so that the reading in the Synagogue might " with words of 
comfort." The same practice was followed in the reading of the 
"Twelve" (Minor) Prophets, Lamentations, and Ecclesiastes. 
See Ginsburg's Introduction, p. 850. 



The Authenticity of the Servant Passages 

The impression that the four striking sections which we call 
Servant passages (see p. Iviii.) are somehow distinct from the 
rest of chh. xl. — Iv. is now so firmly rooted in critical opinion, 
and affects so deeply the exposition of the prophecy, that it 
seems desirable to consider shortly the grounds on which the 
impression rests and the various conclusions to which it has led. 
" The points which appear mainly to have influenced scholarship " 
in this matter, says Dr Burney, " ar e the abruptn ^'^'^ with which 
the Servant passages are introduced into the work of Deutero- 
Isaiah and the (alleged) fact that they can be separated from 
their context without any detriment to it ; the conception of 
the Servant as an ideal personality in contrast to the ' blind and 
deaf ' servant of Deutero-Isaiah ; the difference between the 
quiet and unobtrusive method of evangelisation pursued by the 
ideal Servant (cf. xlii. 2, 3) and the way in which Deutero-Isaiah 
loudly publishes his message to all the world ; and the carefully 
constructed form of the poems, all of which except 1. 4 — 9 exhibit 
the same rhythm 1." These are the chief phenomena which 
have produced "a widespread conviction that the Servant passages 
form a connected cycle (some would even say a complete cycle, — 
" a book within the book ") of independent oracles, which have 
in some way been incorporated or inserted in the prophecies of 
II Isaiah ; and this is the general position which we propose to 
examine. As to J±L£_origin_of the pieces, and the manner in 
which they have been worked into the book we shall find that 
a great di yersity ~of"^ew prevails. Here it will be sufficient to 
consider the three main questions that arise^. 

1 Church Quarterly Review, Oct. 191 2, p. 115 f. 

- There is surprising unanimity as to 'the number of the Servant 
passages: xlii. iff., xlix. iff., lii. 13 ff. are unlver.sally recognised as- 
such ; and only a few critics (as Ley and Laue) exclude 1. 4—9, 
regarding it as an utterance of the prophet himself converted into 
a Servant poem by the interpolation of v. 10. Considering that in this 
section the Servant of Jehovah is not named, that its rhythm is different 
from that of the other three, and that it is the only one of the four 



I. TIk' first question is wlietlirr the four jiocnis are organi- 
cally related to the work of II Isaiah, or were inserted by a 
later editor without much regard to the connexion in which 
they stand. This is clearly a case in which the burden of proof 
falls on those who challenge the integrity of the prophecy, unless 
indeed they deny (with Dr Kennett) that there is any unity in 
II Isaiah at all, which is not the position of the critics with whom 
we are here concerned. What then are the arguments by which 
the interpolation hypothesis is sustained ? (a) It is alleged 
that the passages could be lifted from their context without 
creating any obvious discontinuity. That, even if it ^^ere true, 
would not be decisive, for there are a good many important 
sections of II Isaiah of which the same thing could be said 
(e.g. xli. 8 — 20, xliv. 24 — 28, etc.). But i t is admitj^ ^ed that the 
assertion is not true of the original Sey vantjpoems themselves, 
whieh~ r b the fui m in which the mterpolation theory was first 
advanced by^Duhm. His followers quickly perceived that in 
the case of the first two poems, if there is to be excision at all it 
must be the excision of longer sections than xlii. i — 4 and xlix. 
I- — 6. Duhm has yielded to their arguments in the first case, 
but not in the second. He now finds that the true c<mtinuation 
of xli. 29 is xlii. 8, and accordingly cuts out the whole seven 
verses, admitting that vv. 5 — 7 presuppose vv. i — 4. He further 
allows that vv. 5- — 7 are a successful imitation of the style of 
II Isaiah; being in fact so successful that in his first edition he 
set them down to that prophet. Such procedure would only be 
justified if there were other reasons for thinking that the poem 
cannot have been part of the main prophecy. In ch. xlix. the 
case is precisely similar. Here Duhm adheres to his opinion 
that vv. 7 ff. are the work of II Isaiah, while vv. i — 6 are inserted ; 
but his successors realise that vv. 7 if. presuppose vv. i — 6 just 
as clearly as xlii. 5 — 7 presuppose vv. i- — 4, and hold accordingly 
that vv. 7 ff. are an appendix to the Ser\'ant poem written by 
an editor just Uke xlii. 5 ff. We conclude, then, with regard 

whicli has unmistakeably influenced the .succeeding contexi, there is 
jjevhaps something to be said for the opinion that it has a separate 
origin from the rest, and stands in a somewhat unique relation to the 
main prophecy. Some scholars (like vnn Hoonacker) would include as 
a fifth Sen'ant poem Ixi. i — 3. — On the other hand there is no agree- 
ment as regards the extent of the several ])assages. We accept 
Duhm's delimitation of the" original ]3oems (viz. xlii. i — 4, xlix. i — 6, 
1. 4 — 9, Hi. 13 — liii. i-j) as convincingly correct ; although we hold that 
xlii. 5 — 7, xlix. 7 — 12, 1. 10 (11) are clo.sely connected with the poems 
to which they are attached, and meaningless apart from them. Laue 
and Staerk consider Hi. 13 — 15 to h^ a similar addition to the fourth 
poem (ch. liii ), placed at the beginning instead of the end ; but that 
suggestion has little to commend it. 


to these two passages that since in each case the nucleus, which 
alone suggests cliTersity of origin, is inseparably conne cted with 
verses which have all the marks of Deutero- ls-aiah s style, the 
poenis must be presumed to have passed through the hands of 
that prophet and to be an integral part of the book. And 
although this particular argument does not apply to 1. 4 — g 
(where the appendix vv. 10, 11 might have been inserted by a 
redactor), or to lii. 13 — liii. 12 (which has no secondary expansion 
at all), still if the poems are a homogeneous group, we must hold 
that the authenticity of two of them guarantees the authenticity 
of the whole series. (5) It is urged that there are n o signs of 
dependence on the Servant passages in the rest of the prophecy. 
It is true that there are very few cases in which definite and 
unambiguous points of contact can be made out. The agree- 
ment between li. 6 a, 8 a and 1. 9& is indeed " too striking to be 
merely accidental " ; but it is an almost solitary instance^. 
The other examples which are adduced of affinities between 
the Ser\'aifr"paSsages and the rest of the book are all more or 
less corrstrTTctive : that is to say they are presumably valid if 
we construe the thought of thfe-second Isaiah on the assumption 
that the Servant passages belong to him ; but by themselves 
apart from that assumption they are too uncertain to establish 
a connexion. Except as regards 1. 4 — 9 the evidence under 
this head must be admitted to be inconclusive, (c) The metrical 
form of the poems. No argument for their excision can be 
based on this; because in the first place the i-hythm of the 
third poem is entirely different from that of the other three, 
and in the second place both metres are freely used by II Isaiah. 
{d) A certain " temperamental " difference between the poems 
and the writings of II Isaiah is noted by Duhm, as we think 
rightly (see p. 29). But it is difficult to measure the range of 
II Isaiah's " temperament " ; and even if the contrast were too 
great for a single mind to have originated, it would not follow 
that the prophet could not have so far assimilated the spirit of 
the poems as to embody them in his message. Leaving this 
and some other important points to be considered under the 
next head, we may say that so far as merely literary evidence 
goes there is no sufficient reason to doubt that the Servant 
passages belong to the original plan and structure of the book 
of II Isaiah. 

2. If the interpolation hypothesis be set aside as ijaiprobable, 
the next question is whether the Servant poems were composed 
by IT Isaiah in the order and connexion in which they stand, 
or whether they had an independent existence before the main 

' Roy, who is an advocate of the inteipolatit)n theory, iiichides 
li. I — 8 in the same Servant poem as 1. 4 — 9, but that is a very 
improbable comljination. 



prophecy was written. It is held by some writers that there 
are marked di fferences in ideas and standpoint bet ween the 
po ems and the prophecy which, while nq ^^ifllcient_L)jLdcuiand 
the~ex trusion of the poem s, are yet si gnificant enough to suggest 
that these are independent compositions of earlier date than the 
prophecy, wTTich have been incorporated in it by the prophet 
himself. Tiie alleged differences relate to such points as these : 
the attit ude towards the heathen world, and the method of its 
evangelisation ; the conce ption of salvation (in the one as 
an ethico-religious regeneration, in the other as an external, 
partly politicStTpartly miraculous, event: in the one case as medi 
ated by"^he work of the Servant, in the other as " theocentric," 
Jeho\-ah being its sole author, etc.) ; the supposed incompatibility 
of the roles of Cyrus and the Servant of Jehovah as instruments 
of Israel's deliverance; the idea of the Servant (in the poems an 
individual, with a high vocation in the service of God, in the 
prophecy a personification of Israel, a merely passive witness to 
the presence of Jehovah, etc.) ; and so on. It is of course dii¥icult 
to estimate the force of considerations like these ; but on some 
of them a few general observations may be made, (a) It seems 
to be true that the first two Ser\ant poems are animated by a 
sympathetic outlook on the heathen world which finds little 
expression elsewhere in the book; and on the other hand that 
II Isaiah shews a certain animus against heathenism which does 
not appear in the poems. And it is not altogether correct to 
say that the prophet's animosity is confined to the Babylonian 
oppressors of Israel : he has a contempt for idolaters of all sorts, 
and never (outside of the poems) addresses them in accents of 
persuasion. But the contrast is apt to be exaggerated. All 
that the Serv'ant poems really say is that the Servant will be the 
source of religious illumination to the world, and will deal tenderly 
with the crushed and feeble among them. But II Isaialt also 
looks for a conversion of the Gentiles defeated and broken by 
the Persian afhis (xlv. 20 ff.); and when we think of his sym- 
pathetic references to Cyrus (" though thou didst not know me," 
xlv. 4 f.) we see that he was not a stranger to the finer feeling for 
humanit}' which is characteristic of the poems, (b) The seem- 
ingly conflicting aspects of the idea of salvation are dealt with in 
the Introduction (pp. xlvi. ff. ), where it is shewn that there is no 
antithesis, but at most a difference of emphasis, (c) As to the 
relation of Cyrus to the Ser\-ant of Jehovah, it is easy to see that 
there is no opposition between them. Their functions lie in 
quite different spheres. Cyrus is the agent of political emanci- 
pation, and disappears from the stage when his work is accom- 
plished ; the Serv^ant is the agent of a spiritual restoration w-hich 
no external deliverance could bring about^. (d) The most 
^ J'his is perhaps the best place to call attention to an interesting 
and at first sight attractive suggestion of Condamin, which is in the 


important questions are those connected with the person and 
mission of the Servant, which we reserve for separate discussion 
(Note II). Here again, Iiowever, it is necessary to guard against 
magnifying differences into incompatibiUties. The assertion that 
apart from the four passages the Servant is not conceived as 
having a vocation is not strictly true (at least the formal idea of 

main adopted by van Hoonacker. Its leading feature is the trans- 
position of xhi. I — 9, so as to foHow xlix. i — 7, thus reversing the 
order of the first two Servant passages, and bringing the whole cycle 
into the second great division of the book (xlix. — Iv.). The attractions 
ot this rearrangement are obvious. It effects a clear separation 
between the historical and ideal (or the collective and the individual) 
applications of the title "Servant of the Lord." In xl. — xlviii. the 
Servant is ahvays Israel, in xlix. — Iv. always (in the view of these 
two writers) the Messiah ; and it is undoubtedly much easier to believe 
that the name is applied to two entirely different subjects if the two 
represent successive stages in the unfolding of the prophet's thought. 
Again, in xl. — xlviii. Cyrus is in the political sphere the instrument 
through whom Jehovah accomplishes His purpose of redemption ; in 
xlix. — Iv. this function, transferred to the moral ind spiritual sphere, 
is assigned to the Messiah. Needless to say, both the scholars named 
fortify their position by elaborate subsidiary arguments ; and Condamin 
finds a confirmation of it in a somewhat complicated strophic theory 
which leads him to accentuate still more sharply the distinction 
between the two halves of the prophecy. Chh. xl. — xlvii., he holds, 
contain the "former thijigs," chh. xlix. — Iv. + lx. — Ixii. the "new 
things" so often distinguished in xl. — xlviii.; while ch. xlviii. is an 
intermediate poem announcing the transition from the one to the other. 
Into these points we cannot enter here. As to the main theory we 
hesitate to accept it for the following reasons. The wholesale trans- 
ference of a long section from one context to another is a process 
which we cannot help viewing with some suspicion. The order 
proposed, xlii. i ff. after xlix. i ff., strikes one as not altogether 
natural. It is surely more fitting that Jehovah should introduce His 
Servant than that the Servant should introduce himself; and the 
passage in which the title ' ' Servant " occurs at the beginning is a 
more likely opening to the series than one which leaves us in doubt for 
a time who the speaker is. Further, there is a parallel between 
xlii. I — 9 and xlix. i — 12 which forbids the separation of xlix. 8 — 12 
from vv. I — 7. It seems to us that xlix. 7 — 12 have the same relation 
to the poem vv. i — 6 as xlii. 5 — 9 have to vv. i — 4 (note the lyrical 
effusion which follows in each case: xlii. 10 ff., xlix. 13). Lastly, 
while the transposition has an undoubted advantage for those who 
identify the ideal Servant with the Messiah, it is by no means clear 
that xlii. I ff. stand out of their proper connexion if (as we still hold) 
the conception originates in a personification of Israel. Nor are we 
convinced that this passage is not presupposed by xlii. 18 ff. 


vocation is implied in the verb " I have called thee " [xli. 9, 
xliii. i]) ; and in any case it is reasoning in a circle first to isolate 
from the structure of the book the very passages in which the 
idea of vocation is unfolded, and then deny that 11 Isaiah knows 
anything of vocation 1. 

But wliile these observations tend to reduce the improbability 
that the Servant poems were composed along with the rest of the 
prophecies, they obviously leave the alternative theorj' perfectly 
open ; and there are other facts which may even incline the 
balance in its favour. There are some indications that the whole 
series of poems lay before the prophet when he published the 
discourses which form the bulk of his book. Thus xlix. 7 seems 
clearly dependent on lii. 13 ff., a passage which, if the poems were 
composed for their present position, would not have been written. 
Again, xlii. 19 — 21 is described by Marti as a compendium of the 
same great ode (cf. esp. xhi. 21 with liii. 10)'. Other parallels with 
a Servant passage not yet reached are cited by Giescbrecht 
(pp. 128 ft.); but there it is doubtful on which side priority lies. 
Further, the finished style and rounded completeness of each 
poem in itself, the temperamental difference of which Duhm 
speaks, and the contrast of tone between them and the surround- 
ing oracles, suggest that they were written in a time of less 
excitement than the stirring months when Cyrus was advancing to 
the conquest of Babylon (see p. xxxvii.). Si milarly, th e absence 
of fe eling against Babylon , and of allusion s to the career of Cyrus, 
may 'p oint to an earji^r peliud, when lesenim enf against Babylon 
was n6l so keen, and before the figure of Cyrus had yet appeared 
on the political horizon. On these grounds we are inclined to agree 
with the conclusion arrived at by representatives of such different 
points of vdew as Sellin, Giesebrecht, Whitehouse, etc. : viz. that 
the four Servant poems are older in dependent co mpositions which 
II Isaiah has incorporated among nis own discourses. 

3. I his leaves the question of personal authorship still 
undecided : the poems may have been written by II Isaiah at a 
former period of his life (so Sellin and Giesebrecht), or they may be 
the work of an unknown poet who lived before him (Whitehouse), 

1 A point rightly emphasised by Zillessen, who argues that if the 
Servant poems are removed the title Servant as applied to Israel 
is reduced to an empty and otiose epithet, to which no real meaning 
is attached (pp. 273 fif.). 

2 These coincidences, if they stood alone, might no doubt be 
accounted for by supposing that the idea was in the mind of the 
prophet from the first, though its complete development was reserved 
for a later stage of the book. But taken in connexion with the 
differences between the poems and the rest of the prophecy, they are 
perhaps more naturally explained by the theory of literary dependence 
as here presented. 


It is generally admitted that the phraseology of the Servant 
passages is largely Dentern-Tsai anir, fex-rept in lii. i^ — liii. 1 2), 
and at all events yields no evidence of diversity ot authorship. 
But to go further, and say that the Servant passages are too short 
to have coloured the whole style of a voluminous writer like 
II Isaiah through mere literary perusal, and therefore must be 
his own original compositions, is a veiy doubtful inference. When 
we examine the lists of characteristic expressions that have been 
drawn up (e.g. by Schian, pp. 10, 22 f., 30, 39 f., 48), we find that 
in the first place there are a number of distinctive phrases peculiar 
to II Isaiah on the one hand and to the Servant poems on the 
other ; further, that the most striking parallels are wit h those pas- 
sagesin which II Isaiah speaks of lsrg,el as the bervant'oTJelTovah, 
and~where he may be supposed to have had the Servant poems 
immediafeiyiifTiew ; and lastl3^ that identical phrases are occa- 
sionalljv_u sed in such different senses as to suggest a bo rrowed 
application (contrast the image of the quenched wick m xlii. 3 and 
xliii. 17). Taking ad these things into account it can hardly be 
said that the linguistic phenom ena furnish a positive proof that 
II I saiah is himself the autlK)r7)ITEe~Seivarit p oeihs" Apart from 
linguistic evidence the greater probability seems to be that w-e 
have to do with the work of two different writers. The profoundly 
reflective character of the poems as contrasted with the buoyant 
enthusiastic spirit of II Isaiah points in that direction, and cer- 
tainly makes it very difficult to agree with Sellin that the poems 
were produced by II Isaiah in his youth (about the time of 
Jehoiachin's release in 561) and the rest of the prophecy in his 
maturer age. And if there be a difference of conception with regard 
to the Sen-ant of the Lord it is more natural to think that the 
prophet has preserved the cherished utterances of a revered pre- 
decessor than that he should have incorporated previous discourses 
of his own which were no longer an exact expression of his thought. 
To that point we shall return at the close of the following note. 


Recent Theories of the Servant of the Lord 

The question discussed in the previous note leads directly to 
the more important question whether the conception of the 
Servant of Jehovah in the four Servant poems be the same as in 
the rest of the prophecy. It might be expected that those who 
hold by a difference of conception would also maintain a difference 
of authorship, and vice versa; and on the whole this is the case. 
But there are exceptions on both sides : some who assign the 
Servant poems to another writer than II Isaiah find in both 
substantially the same view of the Ser\'ant, while others maintain- 
ing the integrity of the prophecy nevertheless distinguish two 


conceptions of the Servant. The two problems are therefore to 
some extent separable, although it is not possible to keep them 
wholly apart. In this note, however, we shall deal mainly with 
the idea of the Servant; and since there is no difference of opinion 
as to who the Servant is outside of the Servant passages, the 
inquiry resolves itself into the question, Who is the Servant 
delineated in these four poems ? We sliall try to reach an answer 
by passing under review the principal solutions (some of them 
both novel and interesting) which have been under discussion in 
the literature of the subject during the last twenty years. 

\\e begin with the obs ervation that throughout tlje Servant 
passages (with the exception of the disputed word " Israel " in 
xlix. 3) the Servant is anon ymous. In the rest of the prophecy 
(xl. — xlviii.) this is almost' never the case: tJie title is nearly 
always identifi ed wJttl " Tacob " or " T^mol , " or occurs in con- 
nexions which leave no doubt that the nation is meant. A great 
deal is made of this distinction by some writers, in two opposite 
interests. On one side it is urged that the anonymous Servant 
must be determined by the previous occurrence of the title in 
xli. 8 wdiere it denotes Israel (so that the anonymity. becomes an 
argument for unity of authorship) ; on the other side it is main- 
tained that the two Ser\'ants must b£_ distinct, because otherwise 
II Isaiah would have followed his usual practice of coupling the 
term with the nameof the nation: it is further inferred that the 
anonymous Servant must have been a personage well known to 
the contemporaries of the prophet. There is little force in any of 
these contentions. It is quite natural that the author (whether 
II Isaiah or another) should hav g introcIIic £d_tQ^Ms-auclience a new 
figure, who was to be identifi edZaoIely by the description of him 
containeo in the oracles. 

WhaTE, then, are the features of the description given in the 
Servant poems? (i) He is one called and chosen of God, from 
the beginning of his existence, for a unique and glorious mission, 
and endowed with the spirit of God for the discharge of 
that mission (xlii. i f., xlix. i ff., liii. lo ff.). (ii) This mission 
is twofold : ' on the one hand to bring back Israel to Jehovah 
(xlix. 5 f., liii. iff.)^; and on the other to extend the .true 
religion to the w^orld at large (xlii. i, 4, xlix. 6, Hi. 15, liii. 12). 
(iii) The Servant is the ideal prophet, or at least the ideal of one 
aspect of the prophet's functions. His weapon is inspired speech 
and instruction (xlix. 2, 1. 4) ; liis manner of working is quiet and 

^ It seems clear that in the secondary passages xlii. 7, xlix. 8 — 12 
the restoration of Israel means (or includes) re.storation from exile. 
It is probable that this is also the idea of xlix. 5, 6 in the primary 
poem ; but it must be admitted as just possible that there the reference 
is to a purely spiritual conversion, so that if we isolate the poems 
the figure of the Servant might lie detached from the background 
of tlie Exile. 


unobtrusive, gentle and tender towards those who are the objects 
of his spiritual ministry (xlii. 2 f.). (iv) For a time he was 
unconscious of the full ^magnitude of his vocation, and had 
laboured in obscurit^^ and disappointment, amid obloquy and 
persecution, at his smaller task of reanimating liis own people 
with the knowledge of God (xlix. 4, 1. 6). But at a certain period 
of his history he receives a fresh revelation of his true calling and 
destiny (xlix. 5, 6), and henceforth he braces himself to the 
resolute endurance of enmity, assured that his cause will finally 
triumph and that his very sufferings are the path to glory (I. 6 fi., 
liii. 7 ff.). (v) He is faithful even to death; and after his death 
his contemporaries are melted into penitence by the spectacle of 
his absolute surrender to God's will, by his meekness and patience 
under outrage and wrong, in which they recognise the proof of 
his innocence; they see that his unmerited sufferings were the 
vicarious atonement for their sins (liii. i ff.). (vi) Thus the 
Servant's career is crowned with success (xlii. 4); as the reward 
of his labours lie is exalted in a way that excites the wonder of the 
kings and peoples of the world (Hi. 13 — 15). 

Now it is perhaps not impossible, though it is difficult, to 
imagine a union of these features in a single individual figure, as 
in fact they are combined in a wonderful degree in the person of 
Jesus Christ. It is when we proceed tr)rRlate the conception to 
the circumstances in which- the ~prophet wrote, and try to realise 
what it nmst have meant to him and his hearers, that difficulties 
arise. They arise mainly from the w^ay in which id eal and 
his torical elements ar e blended^ hi^ tlie portrait of the Servant; 
andTrom the further fact tliat through ic iealisation of rhe hist orical 
th e^e elements m xy-^had e riiipeicepLiljrv^one into the otherT The 
moTt fundamental COritfast between rival interpretations of the 
Servant idea is not that between collective and individual theories, 
but between historical and ideal : i.e. between those which seek 
the root and origin of the conception in the sphere of phenomenal 
reality, and those which place it in the region of noumena, — 
things ideal, not seen as yet. But since the common classification 
into " collective " and " individual " is more convenient for the 
purpose of exposition, we adhere to it in what follows. 

i. (i) Of collective interpretations the simplest and most 
natural, as well as the most ancient, is that which identifies the 
Servant with the nation of Israel as it actually existed in history. 
It is the most natural inasmuch as it extends to the Servant 
poems the sense in which the title is used elsewhere in chh. xl. — - 
xlviii. Its antiquity is proved by the insertion of the words 
" Jacob " and " Israel " in the LXX of xlii. i, and the occurrence 
of " Israel " in the Hebrew and Greek texts of xlix. 3. Even if 
both these be regarded as cases of interpolation, the fact remains 
that at a very early time the national reference of the title was 
accepted for at least two of the Servant passages. This theory, 
which prevailed among post-Christian Jewish interpreters (Origen, 


Contra Celsum, i. 55; Raslii. Ibn Ezra, Kiinchi, etc.), and was 
adopted by scholars like Kosenmiiller, Hitzig, and Reuss, lias of 
late years experienced a remarkable revival ; and at the present 
time commands the suitrages of perhaps a majority of Old Testa- 
ment critics (amongst many others, Giesebrecht, Konig, Budde, 
Peake, etc.). 

There is no need to dwell at length on the obvious merits and 
advantages which have secured such a large measure of support 
for this interpretation. The religious mission of Israel to the 
world, its endowment with the spirit of prophecy, its sullerings 
at the hands of enemies, its death as a nation in the Exile, its 
expected resurrection at the Restoration and subsequent exalta- 
tion among the peoples, — these and perhaps other features of the 
portrait are adequately explained as national history allegorised 
in the form of personal biography. Nor is it possible here to 
state all the objections which might fairly be urged. We will 
call attention to two points in particular wliere, in our judgement, 
the theory absolutely breaks down. 

(a) The first is its interpretation of liii. i ff. If the Servant 
be the entire nation of Israel, the spectators of his career who 
speak in liii. i — 9 must be non-Israelites; and since the Servant 
represents a nation, they are necessarily the heathen nations of 
the world, who are described as having been profoundly moved 
by the tragic fate of a people whom -they had despised and mis- 
judged, but whom they now see to iiave borne the chastisement 
of their sins. In spite of the acute and searching analysis of 
Giesebrecht, which has satisfied many expositors, we cannot but 
regard this interpretation as forced and unnatural. Firit, the 
religious attitude expressed in vv. 2—9 is such as no prophet 
could have attributed to the heathen world. It is not enough to 
say that it is converted heathen who are introduced as speakers : 
they are converted heathen describing their impressions while 
still unconverted, and we have no right to assume that the prophet 
imputes to them retrospectively a consciousness of which they 
would have been incapable. Can we, then, suppose that there 
was in heathendom the sensitiveness of feeling and conscience 
which would have enabled it to read the profoundest religious 
lesson of Israel's history? It would be strange if even the most 
catholic-minded of prophets had composed a penitential liturgy 
for the heathen which contains no word of remorse for its active 
share in the sufferings of the people of Jehovah. Nay, it would 
be strange if he represented the Gentiles as concerned at all about 
the fate of Israel. To the world at large there was nothing 
singular in its misfortunes : it was but one of many nationalities 
which had been crushed by the power of Assyria or Babylon ; 
and though the prophet anticipated something altogether startling 
in the manner of it? restoration, that cannot be reflected back 
into the mental condition of the heathen before it had taken 
place. Again, could the Gentiles have seen Israel in this character 


of a meek, submissive, unoffending sufferer, wholly resigned to 
the will of God, wlaich should produce in them the conviction of 
its innocence and (as an inference from that) of the vicarious 
meaning of its afflictions? We can believe that a prophet saw 
those qualities in the better mind of his countrymen ; but that 
was certainly not the aspect wliich the people as a whole presented 
to the outside world. Second, we have to ask when this confession 
could have been uttered. Not to press the point that on the 
national theory the Exile represents the death of the Servant and 
therefore the meditation here described ought strictly to run 
parallel with the pre-exilic history of Israel, we will concede the 
possibility that it was the calamity of exile which evoked the 
train of thought in vv. 2 — 9. But it is held by _those who adopt 
this intejjiretritiQJxJ±_at__the_chaiigg_oI mind in the heathen is 
lirought about by the r estit utioii^jjf^ Israel (Its resurrection), 
w'hich-TS^predicted in ru7T5^ Hence we. oausi^suppQse that in 
liii. I jf. the prophet projects himself hito^ a future beyond this 
pvp nt nnd from that point describes the thoughts of th e nati ons 
be fore-i t B ut in tha t,cas£-wh,it r,n,n,we make of the faCTt that in 
liii. 10 the language again becomes predictive of the Servant's 
ej^altation ? Must we not conclude that the process of conversion 
is imagined as complete before the restoration from exile, 
although according to lii. i^; i t does n ot begin till after it? At 
least we must say that the unity and connexion of the passage, 
which Giesebrecht is at such pains to preserve at the beginning 
of the meditation, is violated in more glaring fashion at its close. 
Lastly, while there may be a truth in the idea of Israel suffering 
for the sin of the world (cf. Rom. ix. 11), it is a truth found 
nowhere in the Old Testament, and foreign to the theology of 
II Isaiah. It is true that Israel raised up from exile is represented 
as a source of blessing to the world, and in so far as the Exile was 
a necessary discipline for this great end it might be said to be 
endured for the good of humanity ; but this is quite apart from 
the line of the prophet's teaching. He affirms explicitly and . 
repeatedly that Israel has sins of its own to be atoned for, and 
that the Exile is the penalty of these sins. It is a somewhat 
feeble answer to take the expression " double for all her sins " in 
xl. 2, and say that one half of her punishment was for her own 
sins and the other half for the sins of the world. Nor is it satis- 
factory to speak of a relative innocence of Israel, and a relative 
right ^"^ a p ;ainst_J:he w orld, and to suppose that the prophet's 
" relative " becomes in the mouth of the heathen an absolute. 
Whoever the speakers may be, we refuse to believe that the 
thoughts expressed are anything less than the writer's own deep est 
convictions as to the character of the Servant ; and that he could 
thus" have spoken ol the nation as a whole is contrary to the tenor 
of the prophec y. Moreover the heathen are not exempt from the 
punishment of their sins. The cup of wrath taken from the hand 
of Zion is to be given to her enemies (li. 22); the conquests of 


Cyrus are a judgement not on Babylon alone but on the world at 
large, leaving but a remnant of survivors (xlv. 20) ; Egypt, 
l-lthiopia and Seba arc given as Israel's ransom (xliii. 3). These 
references seem to exclude tlio idea of a transference of punish- 
ment from the heathen to Israel ; and therefore we are constrained 
to abandon the view that the heathen are the speakers in liii. i — 9. 
And that probably involves the rejection of the theory which 
identifies the Servant with the historic people of Israel. (See 
Kennett, The Servant of the Lord, p. 93.) 

(b) A second point wliere the theory fails is the explanation 
of xlix. 5, 6. As commonly understood v. 5 says that the Servant 
was formed " from the womb " that he might bring back Jacob 
(from captivity). This sense is plainly incompatible with the 
iiypothesis that the Servant and Israel are identical. Attempts 
are made (most successfully, we think, bj^ Budde) to read another 
meaning into the clause : but they only result in renderings 
which reveal the embarrassment to which the ad\'Ocates of the 
national interpretation are reduced (see the note below *). The 
passage remains a serious obstacle to the acceptance of this theory. 

(2) An important modification of the national theory next 
calls for attention. It rests on a distinction between the empirical 
and the ideal Israel. The Servant is here conceived as a personifi- 
cation, not of Israel as it has actually existed in history, but of 
Israel according to the divine ideal which is the ground of its 
\-ocation from, the beginning, and wliich is being progrefisively 
realised in its history. There is no very clear line of division 
between this theory and the more realistic form of the national 
interpretation which we have just considered ; for most, if not all, 

1 It is admitted that the inf. "to bring hack '" may be understood in 
two senses: it may mean "in order to bring back," expressing the 
purpose of the preceding action ; in which case the implied .subject 
may be either the .Servant or the speaker Jehovah ; or it may mean " in 
bringing back," explaining in what the previous act consists, when the 
subject will necessarily be Jehovah. Dr Peake {Problem of Suffering, 
p. 47«.) adopts the former view, taking Jehovah as the subject : ''in 
order that I may bring back." That is grammatically unimpeachable, 
and it certainly gets rid of the idea that the Servant is to lead Israel 
out of exile ; but at what a cost ! The sense we obtain is that Jehovah 
formed Israel (at the Exodus) in order that He might restore Israel 
(from the Captivity). That is surely a much more awkward idea than 
the one it is meant to replace. Budde more logically takes the 
gerundive sense : " in bringing back " ; and since on this view the two 
actions must be identical he is led to refer the whole to the formation 
of the nation at the E.xodus : "I formed thee through the act of 
bringing Jacob," etc. But the inappropriatenessof the verb " restore " 
to the origin of the nation makes this a very improbable rendering. 
Giesebrecht's evasion of the difficulty by striking the offending'clause 
out of the text is not justified by all his elaborate reasoning. 


of those who hold the latter view recognise that in. the Servant 
passages the nation is idealised in the light of its purpose in the 
mind of God. The s pecial characteristic of this se cond theory is 
an effort so to distinguish tlie ideal Tsrael from ffyR'aFfua] that 
whil e Jboth may be r e garded as personified under the name of the 
Servant, yet o ne of the in can be conceived as ex ercising a ministry 
upon the o ther. That is evidently a very subtle distinction, and 
the difficulty of carrying it through is undoubtedly the weak 
point in the theory. Dillmann, for example, the most influential 
German exponent of this view, held that the distinction suffices 
for chh. xl. — xlviii., where the first Sei^vant poem (xlii. i ff.) 
describes the ideal Israel in language which could not be used of 
the historic people or any section of it. But in xlix.— -ly. the ideal 
is presented asjartially .reali sed in the expeH encfis of the godly 
kerneL-Oi-the nation, " which in the sight of God is the true 
Israel " ; and thus a contrast arises between the Serva nt and the 
actual Israel which solves the paradox that Israel is charged with 
a mission to Israel, and atones for its sins by voluntary acceptance 
of the sorrows of exile. We should prefer to say, with Professor 
Peake, that historic features are " transferred to " the ideal " from 
the history of Israel, or of the righteous remnant, or even of such 
individuals as Jeremiah and the other prophets. These were so 
many realisations in fact of what existed in the ideaP." What- 
«ever its merits or disadvantages, the theory has received the 
weighty support in this country of Davidson, Driver, Ivirkpatrick, 
and others. 

The chi-ef objections to this interpretation have been succinctly 
and fairly stated by Dr Peake in the passage referred to. First, 
since II Isaiah elsewhere speaks of the Servant in language 
inapplicable to the ideal Israel, it follows that " if he is the author 
of the Servant passages, he uses the word in incompatible senses." 
To this it may be replied that "incompatible" is too strong a 
term to apply to what may be only, a difference of degree. Staerk 
has truly observed that wherever II Isaiah applies the title Servant 
to Israel he has in mind a contrast between the ideal destiny and 
the actual condition of the people. It cannot therefore be pro- 
nounced incredible that he should take occasion to draw out the 
true ideal in its full depth and significance, still less that he should 
have incorporated passages of earlier origin in which the ideal was 
already set forth in all its splendour. Second, "it is not quite 
natural for the Israelites to regard the ideal Israel as suffering for 
their .sins." Dr Peake himself suggests a line of thought by 
which the conception might be made intelligible, but finally he 
rejects it as " extremely artificial ' , and most recent writers do 
the same, with less attempt at appreciation. We recognise the 
force of^this argument. We submit, however, that where we are 
faced with a balance of disadvantages, difficulties exist to be 

1 Problciii oj. Suffering, pp. 191 ff. 


surninuntcd ; and that this particular difficulty, though real, is 
not insurmountable, if \vc bear in mind that the Servant-ideal is 
one that embraces all that is of religious significance in the life of 
Israel, and that the idea of vicarious suffering was a soteriological 
principle re\ealed to the prophet in the spiritual experiences of 
his time. Third, " What are we to make of the thought that the 
.ideal Israel restores the actual Israel from exile? " We answer 
in the first place that it is not necessary to make anything of it at 
all. The distinction between, the ideal Israel and the actual 
makes it abstractly possible to regard the former as the agent of 
deliverance to the latter; but it is as open to the advocates of 
that distinction as to Dr Peake to meet the difficulty by explaining 
the deliverance as the direct act of Jehovah (see p. 268 and note). 
The truth is that the objection tells against every collective 
theory of the Servant ; and we must either get over it in the way 
indicated, or else admit that a collective interpretation is im- 
possible. Lastly, " We must omit the exile from the suft'erings of 
the Servant," and " by so doing we cut the passages away from 
the most important fact in the contemporary historical situation." 
It is not obvious how this conclusion is arrived at. It would 
rather seem that the sufferings of the Exile, as experienced by 
spiritually minded Israelites, are precisely those which could be 
most naturally attributed to tlie ideal represented by the Servant, 
as forming the atoning element in the calamities which over-* 
whelmed the nation as a whole. — We hold, then, that while the 
conception of the Servant as the ideal Israel is attended by grave 
difficulties, it is nevertheless the only form in which the national 
interpretation can be successfully maintained. ^ 

(3) A third collective interpretation is that the Servant of 
Jeho\ah is a personification, not of Israel as a whole, nor of the 
idea of Israel, but of the spiritual Israel, the religious kernel of 
the people, on whom the sufferings of the Exile fell most severely, 
and with whom the hope of the future lay (Bl eek, K JH)bel. etc., 
and recently Whitehouse). Much that is said of the Servant is 
no doubt applicable to this faithful minority of the people. It 
w-jis their mission — and they were doubtless more or less conscious 
of it — to bring their nation to repentance, and to extend the true 
religion to the Gentiles. It is probable that in the discharge of 
this task they encountered opposition and persecution from their 
fellow-exiles : this would account for the language of xlix. i — 6 
and 1. 4 — 9. But there are other aspects of the portrait, especially 
in ch. liii., which can scarcely be explained on this hypothesis. 
Although the national calamit^^ may ha\e been felt with peculiar 
severity by those who saw in it the just punishment of the sin of 
Israel, and though the people might have come to acknowledge 
the relative innocence of their sufferings, still these are subjective 
differences : there could have been nothing in their outward lot 
to give rise to even a passing conviction that they were in a special 
degree the objects of divine wrath. Moreover, one of the chief 


attractions of the national view is that it gives a meaning to the 
death and resurrection of the Servant in ch. hii. This fails us if 
we ta ke the sub jefitixLlie-t he kernel of Israel ; for while the nation 
as sucTi could besaid to die in the Exile and rise again at the 
Restoration, it could hardly be said that the spiritual Israel had 
died or would come to hfe again in this way. Nor could it b e said 
with ^entire appr o priateness that the spiritual Tsra?;i was to be the 
agent~in lea dmg the people out of captivity and re storing the 
waste^places of Judea. 

(4) A siiTiilar theory, advocated by Gesenius and some others, 
and partly revived by Staerk, is that the Servant represents the 
order of prophets. An important truth is emphasised by this view : 
viz. that the Servant, whatever else he may be, is conceived as the 
ideal prophet ; and since his functions are considered too exalted 
for any individual prophet he is supposed to be a personification 
of prophecy as a whole. But the theory is exposed to all the 
objections urged against the interpretation of Knobel and White- 
house; and besides, the idealisation of a particular class within 
the community is much less likely than the personification of the 
community itself. The prophetic traits in the character of the 
Servant obtain recognition in every acceptable interpretation, 
being features essential to liis mission as the organ of Jehovah's 

(5) These are the four directions in which a solution has chiefly 
been sought on collectivist Hues; and they all assume that the 
Servant passages are an integral part of the prophecy. We will 
briefly notice a group of less outstanding theories, differing much 
in detail, but resembling each other first, in isolating the poems 
from the structure of the book; and second, in regarding the 
Servant as an idealisation of a particular section of the Jewish 
people. — Bertholet, in a suggest ive and ably reasoned monograph, 
finds the key to the proble m irl the cuilipusiLfo n of ch. liii. He 
regards vv. i — 11 a (down to pHV* in Heb.) as a late insertion in 
the poem, in which life (from pHV) origmally followed immedi- 
ately on Hi. 15. Rfelieved of this excrescence, the four poems 
describe an individual ; not, however, a particular individual, but 
one who is the type of a class, and this class is neither the prophets 
nor the scribes, but an intermediate order of men called Tkoralehrer 
(teachers of law) who flourished between 573 and 444 B.C. This 
is the period to which the original Servant poems are assigned. 
The inserted passage liii. i — 11 a refers to a historic individual, 
but one of a much later age, viz. t he martyred scribe Eleaza r who 
perished under savage tortures irTthe persecution of Anfiochus 
Epiphanes (2 Mace. vi. 18 — 31). It was inserted by one who saw- 
in the Maccabean uprising the fruit of Eleazar's martyrdom, and 
in both the fulfilment of the Servant prophecy. If this be (as we 
cannot but suspect) a cutting of the Gordian knot, it is at least a 
pleasure to see the operation performed in so skilful and workman- 
like a fashion. — Cheyne in his lectures on Jewish Religion assigns 


the Servant poems to the time of Ezra, the Servant embodying 
the ideal of the class to which Ezra belonged, the scribes. The 
writer, a tender-hearted, zealous and enthusiastic man, placed his 
pen at the service of this ideal, and created the figure of the 
Servant by fusing the nameless martyr s of the previous generation 
( Isa. Ivii. i) into a single colossal ligure, wnicn nc lacntilieTT with 
t he true I srael. 1 hese martyrs and conlessors liad been pastors 
and missionaries : hence the Servant is endowed with the double 
functio n of rallying the people round the Eaw and sprea ding the 
knowled ge of it among t he Gentiles. While there is much that is 
fanciful in this picture, it is not to be denied tliat, granted the 
complete independence of the Servant poems, it would have a 
claim to consideration.— The same remark applies to the some- 
what similar view propou nded by R oy. The Servant passages 
(according to Roy xlii. i — 7, xhx. i— 13, 1. 4 — 9+ li. i — 8, lii. 13 — 
liii. 12) are a post-exilic expansion of the Deutero-Isaianic book, 
breathing an entirely different spirit, and revealing a different 
attitude towards the heathen world. The writer lived in the 
early da ys of the Jewish propaganda, when the shattered hopes 
created by the predi ctions of 11 Isaiah were replaced by a more 
spiritual conception of the divine victory over the world, and a 
new vision of Israel's destiny dawned on the mind. The Servant 
is Israel in the light of this new id eal, — Israel which in its now 
innocent sufferings is bearing the sins of the world, and whose 
coming glorification will be the ingathering of the Gentiles. — The 
view expounded by Kennett has affinities with several of the 
preceding theories, but is highly independent in the historical 
setting assigned to the prophecies. The Servant is Israel (xlix. 3), 
but (since he has a mission to restore Israel) obviously not the 
whole nation : he is one who corresponds to the idea which 
Jehovah had in mind in the call and election of Israel. It is true 
that a prophet of the time of Cyrus h ad used the title o£ Israel as 
a who le (xlv. i — 7) ; but there no suggestion is conveyed of a 
mission of Israel t o the hea then : hence the name must have 
undergone a change of meaning before the Servant poems were 
written. The earliest trace of the consciousness of such a mission 
is perhaps in the time of Alexander the Great (book of Jonah), 
but afterwards it died away under the pressure of political cir- 
cumstances, and found no opportunity to revive till after the 
Maccabean conquests in the 2nd century, when a kindlier feeling - 
towards the nations of the world found a lodgement in the Jewish 
mind. By a parallel line of reasoning it is argued that at no 
period earlier than the time of Antiochus Epiphanes did the Jewish 
people suffer grievous persecution for its stedfastness to its 
religion, and win through its struggles a degree of success at which 
kings were amazed. This therefore is the date (c. 141) to which 
the Servant poems belong. The '^pr\rant jc^ fhp liTasidim,— thp 
section of the people that represented the true idea of Israel, 
w hpse su ffewugb aloued for the apostasy of the mass of the nation, 


and whose heroic exploits had won the freedom and independence 
of the Jewish state, and raised it to a height of power which 
extorted the admiration of the surrounding nations. For a 
criticism of this bold, and in many respects interesting, hypothesis 
the reader may consult Dr Burney's second article in the Church 
Quarterly. We can only add here that it is the outcome of a 
critical method and critical results which we have already given 
reasons for distrusting (pp. xxxii f ., Ixxii) ; that it is characterised 
by a defective appreciation of the ideal an d predictive element in 
proph ecy ; and that tlie spirit ol ttie bervant poems i s as different 
as poss ible from anything we know or can readily imagine of the 
spirit of4he~ Jews at the close of the Maccabean wars. 

One serious objection must be urged against this last class of 
theories : that-nine y cut SL^fj^y tlip Servant passage s from the 
his torical situation of the Exile. We have admitted that the 
pi-imary poems do not necessarily imply such a reference (p. 264), 
and therefore it does not need to be reckoned with in any theory 
which deals exclusively with these as independent compositions. 
But the secondary passages, xlii. 5 — 7, xlix. 7 — 12, are not to be 
lightly got rid of. They speak of the Return from exile as a 
momentous event in history, and in that event they assign a 
conspicuous role to the Servant, whether as the agent and leader 
of the deliverance, or as the being for whose sake Jehovah 
accomplishes it. All this is excluded by theories which identify 
the Servant with any part of the post-exilic community, in Judea 
or Babylon or anywhere else. It is difficult to believe that these 
appendices were composed without regard to the original meaning 
of the Servant, and merely to accommodate the conception to 
II Isaiah's exilic standpoint. There is a strong presumption that 
they express the true idea of the Servant's functions, or at least 
an intelligent anticipation of the part he was to play in the restora- 
tion of his people. It follows that the conception must have been 
formed before the close of the Exile. 

ii. The opinion that the Servant of Jehovah is an individual is 
held in two forms : first, that he is a real historical individual, a 
contemporary or predecessor of the author of the poems ; second, 
that he is an ideal personage whose appearance in the future is 

(i) Passing over some more or less tentative suggestions that 
the original subject of ch. liii. was Jeremiah, or Ezekiel, or a name- 
less martyr of the time of Manasseh or of the Exile, etc., the most 
rigorous exposition of the individual theory is that given by 
Duhm. In the view of this brilliant commentator, the Servant 
of the Lord was a religious tea cher (Thoralehrer) who lived after 
the Exile but before the time of Ezra. The account of his career 
in the poems is to be taken literally : he was a man disfigured by 
leprosy, mean and unprepossessing in appearance (like Socrates), 
despised by his generation, and one who after being cut off by his 
disease was laid in a dishonoured grave. The impression he left 

ISAIAH 11 i8 


on liis immediate circle was such as to produce the conviction 
that God would raise him from the dead, to become the great 
religious himinar)' of the world. The iccord of this impression is 
preser\ed in the SerNant poems, written by one of his discij)les 
who could not detach from the person of his master the imperish- 
able truths for whicli he had lived and died. It is superfluous to 
dwell upon the harsh improbabilities of this interpretation, which 
has indeed obtained hardly any support. The lofty mission of 
the Servant, and his unique relati(;n to Jeliovah would be incon- 
ceivable from the Old Testament standpoint if tlie subject were 
a private individual; and nothing urged by Duhm relieves 
tlie difficulty of supposing that the idea of a personal resur- 
rection could have been entertained at so early a period (see 
on Ixv. 20). 

(2) A new solution proposed by Sellin has (witli certain 
reservations) been approved by such authorities as Rothstein, 
Kittel, Staerk and van Hoonacker. Selhn identifies the Servant of 
the poems with the king Jehoiachin, w-ho at the age of 18 after a 
three months' reign surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar in 596, was 
imprisoned in Babylon for 36 years, but was released and signally 
honoured at the accession of Evil-Merodach in 561 (2 Kings xxv. 
27 — 30). This extraordinary act of clemencj^ is the pivot on 
which the whole theory of Sellin turns. It kindled far-reaching 
hopes in the young prophet known to us as II Isaiah, who saw in 
it the pledge and foreshadowing of the restoration of Israel and 
the advent of the Messianic kingdom. The four Servant poems 
are the record of his prophetic conviction at this time, Jehoiachin 
being the hero of these poems. Ch. 1. 4 — 9 describes his constancy 
under the cruelties inflicted by his Babylonian gaolers; Hi. 13 ff. 
deals with the enigma of his long sufferings, and the rehabilitation 
of his royal dignity ; but says nothing as yet of his leading the 
people out of captivity, or of the conversion of the world as the 
result of his exaltation. These topics appear first in xlix. i — 9, 
where Jehoiachin is supposed to express his disappointment at 
the fruitlessness of all his trials, but is cheered by a revelation 
which assures him not merely of the restoration of his own people 
but of a grander destiny in store for him as the organ of Jehovah's 
righteous rule over the nations of the world. Lastly, in xlii. i ff. 
this universal mission receives the divine sanction, and the manner 
in which the earthly head of God's kingdom will exercise his sway 
is foretold. It will be seen that the figure of Jehoiachin is ideal- 
ised in the light of the traditional Me.ssianic expectation, which 
naturally attached itself to his person during the Exile, just as 
40 years later it centred on the person of his grandson Zerubbabel 
(Hagg., Zech.). 

There are several points in vv'hich this interpretation can fairly 
claim a superiority to some others which are in the field. It 
explains the position assigned to the Servant as the agent of 
political deliverance from Babylon. It gets rid of one formidable 


objection to the indivi dualist solution, viz. that the S ervant is put 
on a level w ill! tl^e Kings and nations of the world. That o bjection 
natirraM£l os^'^ 1^^ force if the Serv ant he liimsplf a-Lcing and the 
re prcsen tjvtivejif a nation. A more important recommendation 
is that"lvlulcradmitting an ideal element in the conception it does 
justice to the historical element which marks the Servant as 
belonging to the sphere of the present or tlie past. But these 
advantages are more than balanced by difficulties which we 
briefly enumerate, (a) It reads into the character and career of 
Jehoiachin motives and ideas of which there is no suggestion in 
the Old Testament, (a) He is numbered among the ungodly 
kings of Judah (2 Kings xxiv. 9), and Sellin now admits that the 
judgement of Jeiemiah (xxii. 24 ft.) was substantially the same. 
It is possible that a different estimate arose among the exiles ; 
but of that there is no evidence: in Lam. iv. 20 (if indeed it be 
he who is referred to) the allusion is only to his office and not to 
liis person. (/3) The idea that Jehoiachin's surrender to Nebu- 
chadnezzar was a voluntary act of self-sacrifice for the sake of his 
people is quite unsupported by the language of 2 Kings xxiv. 12, 
and is excluded by the circumstances of the case. We may be 
sure that Nebuchadnezzar was no behever in vicarious punish- 
ment ; and if Jehoiachin had given liimself up an innocent hostage 
he would have experienced humane treatment from the first. 
(7) It is an incredible suggestion that 1. 4 — 9 describes Jehoiachin's 
demeanour under insult and outrage wliile in prison, (d) The 
elevation of Jehoiaclrin may have been a very unexpected 
political event, but it was not so entirely beyond human imagina- 
tion as to account for the tone of awe and wonder expressed in 
liii. I. (b) The basis of idealisation in the Servant poems is not 
the kingly office but the prophetic. Sellin strives hard to reverse 
this prevalent opinion, but without success. His main argument 
rests on the word mishpdt in xlii. i, 3, 4, which he takes as a sure 
indication that the Servant's functions are kingly. But along 
with mishpdt we find tovdh, which is exclusively the prerogative 
of the priest and the prophet ; and while there are clear examples 
of a religious sense of mishpdt, there are none of a political use of 
tordh (neither in Hab. i. 4 nor in Lam. ii. 9 does it bear this sense, 
as Sellin now perceives). And the idea that Jehoiachin was the 
recipient of prophetic revelations like those of xlix. 6, 1. 4 is little 
likely to have been entertained by the prophet, (c) The descrip- 
tion of the Servant's fate in hii. contains features which are not 
applicable to Jehoiachin. To say nothing of leprosy, and repul- 
sive physical appearance (which may be figurative), the Servant 
is one who dies and is buried. This has to be reduced to empty 
symbolism if the theory is to be maintained. But appeals to the 
conventional language of the Psalms, and the court style of 
Babylonia, are unavailing against the cumulative force of phrases 
like these : " cut ofl' from the land of the living " (v. 8), " smitten 
to death " (8, LXX.), " made his grave with the wicked " (j). 


" poured out his soul unto death " (12). If these are to be 
resolved into metaphor we might as well relegate the whole con- 
ception to the realm of the ideal. — -For these and other reasons 
we hold that while the ligure of Jehoiachin may conceivably have 
suggested some features that are taken up into the portrait of the 
Servant, it is impossible to believe that he is himseH the subject 
of the description. 

(3) Coming to individual solutions ol the ideahst type, wc 
have first of all Gunkel's suggestion (worked out by Gre.ssmann, 
and adopted by Haller, etc.) that the Servant is originally a 
mythical figure, borrowed from one of the Asiatic cults, and trans- 
formed into an eqchatological ideal under the influence of Hebrew 
rehgion. This Hebrew transformation is supposed ^o have taken 
place before the time of II Isaiah, and is to us entirely beyond 
investigation : we can determine only its origin (in a figure 
comparable to Adonis), and its culmination (in a sort of Messiah)^. 
The theory rests mainly on a subtle rendering of the situation 
presupposed by liii. i S., supported by ,one item of external 
evidence (Zech. xii. 10 ff.). (a) In liii. i ff. we have a hymn, 
sung by a worshipping community. The singers are conscious of 
having witnessed a mystery, and have been initiated into its 
meaning. In ancient religion such hymns usually give the ex- 
planation of some rite : therefore we may assume that here some 
mysterious rite has been observed. What, then, is the nature 
and significance of this rite? We may infer from the liturgy 
first that it was a sacrifice of atonement, and second that the 
victim has died and is alive again. It is this last idea of resurrec- 
tion which is thought to point to the figure of the " dying god " 
cLs the nucleus of the Servant idea. Since Ezek. viii. 15 shews 
that the cult of Adonis-Tammuz, the god who yearly died and 
came to life again, had penetrated into Israel, it might not be 
altogether surprising if the ode on the death of the Servant was 
modelled on those sung in celebration of the death and revival 
of Adonis, {h) It cannot be denied that this hypothesis 
derives a certain plausibility from Zech. xii. 10. According to a 
probable explanation of that passage the one who is " pierced " 
is the Servant of the Lord; and when the mourning for him is 
compared with the mourning for (the god) Hadad-Rimmon, there 
is at least a suggestion of an affinity between Isa. liii. and the 
pagan rite observed in the valley of Megiddo. 

More will hardly be claimed for this theory than that it explains 
the origin of the form of the Servant idea. Even that concession 
cannot be made without hesitation ; for it is difficult to conceive 
how the dying god of nature-religion could come to be called the 
Servant of Jehovah. At aU events the ideas are all foreign to the 
assumed original. The Semitic nature-religions were notoriously 

1 Gressmann, p. 333. According to Haller the conception was 
transferred to the people of Israel. 


poverty-stricken as regards ethical and spiritual values ; and in 
the competent judgertient nf 'RnnHi-^^jni f^p Arlnm'g myth is entirely 
destitute of es£hat r)logicaL significance. and indifferent to the idea 
of expiatory sacrifice. The sense of guilt on the part of the 
worshippers, their conviction of the Servant's innocence, his own 
fidelity to his task and faith in the righteousness of Jehovah, 
above all his consciousness of a mission to Israel and the world : 
all these — and they are the essentials of the conception — have to 
be set down to the Hebrew development; and nothing remains 
in which the influence of an underlying myth can be traced. 
Moreover, the concrete details of the representation — bodily out- 
rage, disfigurement, imprisonment, leprosy, dishonoured burial — 
are all incongruous with the figure of the djdng god. Yet all 
these fe atures must have b een derived from somewhere ; and 
when we find an explanation of tli em , there will r emain little for 
heaf Een myth glogy to explain. It seems to u s that with the one 
exception (and that a doubtful one) of the thought of resurrection, 
ever ything in Isa. liii. is more i ntelligible as based on the history 
of anactuaI_£rophet and_martj''r than on the precarious analog}^ 
of a pagan nature-myth. 

(4) We have left till the last the mostimportant in manyrespects 
of all interpretations : that which finds in the Servant passages a 
direct prophecy of the future Messiah. Of its deep and permanent 
religious value we are assured by its influence on the mind of our 
Lord, and the consistent witness of the New Testament. It is 
not, however, exclusively, and probably not originally, a Christian 
interpretation : indeed it seems doubtful if it was not the common 
Jewish belief before the controversy with Christians led to its 
abandonment. It is freely referred to in Jewish writings of the 
Middle Ages as the traditional Rabbinical interpretation ; and 
seems to have been accepted by Jews in the time of Justin and 
Tertulhan, whose objection to the Messiahship of Jesus was not 
that he suffered but first that the death he died was accursed and 
therefore could not be predicated of the Messiah, and second that 
Elijah must first have come. Moreover it is the basis of the 
confused translation of Isa. lii. 13 — liii. 12 in the Targum of 
Jonathan, where only those features which imply suffering are 
arbitrarily transferred to other subjects^. Among modern 
scholars it has been maintained by Delitzsch, Orelli, G. A. Smith, 
Ley, Laue, Condamin, van Hoonacker, etc. 

The difficulties of this interpretation have been briefly indicated 
in the Introduction (p. Ixi). They are chiefly these': (i) The 
Messiah is the ideal king, who maintains the reign of God on earth 

^ Adonis itnd Esnitni, p. 424, ;/. i. 

'^ See Driver and Neubauer, The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah 
according to the Jewish Interpreters. Note especially the exegesi.s of 
Ibn Crispin on p. 99 of Vol. 11, 


by the exercise of royal virtues and authority: the Servant is a 
prophet and martyr, who captures the conscience of the world by 
the convincing power of his teaching, his gentleness and sympathy, 
the mute appeal of his sufferings, and the spectacle of his exalta- 
tion. The question here is not wholly one of terminology, though 
it is partlj' that. It is whether the prophet took up the traditional 
figure of the Messianic king, and introduced into it features which 
transformed • its character ; or whether starting from fresh 
premises he created a new ideal which was to replace that of the 
Messianic king as the organ of Jehovah's final purpose with Israel 
and mankind. It is only in this last and inexact sense that the 
person of the Servant can be spoken of as Messianic. (2) The 
second and more serious objection is that historical elements 
predominate in the characterisation of the Servant. On no 
natural interpretation of the passages can his career be wholly 
'assigned to the future. The language is never that of unqualined 
prediction, but is very largely retrospective. Taking the passages 
as a whole, the Servant is referred to as having a present existence 
and as having had a history ; what is foretold is not his appearing 
in a future age near or remote, but his exaltation to power and 
great glory, which is the reward of labours and sufferings already 
accomplished. To suppose that the prophet transports himself 
in imagination to a point in time when the sufferings of the 
Messiah were over and his glorj' not yet revealed would be to 
abnegate the task of historical exegesis, and take refuge in a 
mechanical view of prophetic inspiration. It is on other lines 
than this that the fulfilment of the prophecy in Jesus Christ 
must be explained. 

iii. Some expositors, convinced of the impossibility of carrying 
through any single clear-cut definition of the Servant of the Lord, 
have sought a solution of the problem in a combination of different 
points of view which occupy in succession the centre of the 
prophet's thought. It will suffice to mention the names of 
Delitzsch and G. A. Smith, who hold that the idea undergoes a 
progressive contraction and individualisation in the mind of the 
writer, from the historical Israel at the base of the representation, 
to the ideal Israel, or the spiritual kernel of the people, and finally 
to the person of an individual, the expected Messiah^. A com- 
posite theory of this kind is psychologically conceivable, and is 
certainly not to be dismissed as mere superficial eclecticism : at 
the same time it is doubtful if it relieves the inherent difficulty of 
the purely Messianic interpretation; for it is just in ch. liii., 
where the individual features of the portrait are most pronounced, 

' A somewhat similar position, but apparently excluding an indi- 
vidual application, is adopted by Mr Elmslie in a and abl)- 
written Introduction to II Isaiah [Rci'ised Version Jor Schools, 
p. xxxi f.). 


that the retrospective character of the description is most 

The conflict of opinion represented by these exceedingly diverse 
theories calls to mind the frank avowal of a 14th century Rabbi, 
who wrote : "I have never in my life either seen or heard of the 
exposition of a clear or fluent commentator in which my own 
judgement or that of others who have pondered on the same 
subject might completely acquiesce^." The main purpose of this 
note has been to illustrate the extraordinary elusiveness of the 
Servant idea, which suggests so many interpretations, and at the 
same time condemns each in turn as inadequate. But a few 
v/ords may be added in conclusion on what seems the central 
interest of the problem. What we observe in the Servant poems 
is the cre ation of an enti rgly new religious ideal, arising in the 
deepest m ind of the nation. — an ideal which was to_^ remain 
iinrealjspd"iiTiti1 it f ound if^ resp onse_and_fi]lfi1ment in the soul of 
Jesus of Nazareth. That it was realised in an individual life does 
not necessarily mean that it was first conceived as an individual ; 
but it does imply an inwardness of personification which goes far 
beyond the mei^e allegorical presentation of the salient facts of a 
nation's history. In this respect the purely national interpreta- 
tion is unsatisfying, because wanting in subjective depth and 
reality. And while ^e hold that the outline jpr^orm, of the con- 
ception i^J^rael^idealisedjirTKe^ITght of the divine purpose, we 
must add that the consciousness attributed to the Servant is 
derived from the actual spiritual experience of the pr ophet 
himself_ajid thMe whQjike_.iiini_ had learn ed in the scho ol of Exile 
the m eaning o f Israel's election and. call. These are the true 
Israel, in whose inner life and outward lot are reflected the 
character of the ideal personified in the figure of the Servant. 
Thus far the " Ideal Israel " theory of Dillmann and others seems 
to afford on the whole a natural and adequate explanation both 
of the form and the content of the Servant conception. It is 
when we come to ch. liii. where individualisation reaches a climax, 
that the sufficiency of this interpretation becomes doubtful. In 
that passage the prophet distinguishes himself from the Servant, 
and takes his place with those members of the nation who had 
misjudged him and were brought to repentance by his death. Is 
this merely a last refinement of personification, in which the ideal 
is vividly conceived in human form as living, acting and suffering 
for the restoration of Israel and the conversion of the world ? 
Or is it a record of the profound impression made on the writer 
and his contemporaries by the history of some eminent servant 
of God like Jeremiah, whose innocent and unrewarded sorrows 
found their only solution in the idea of vicarious expiation ? It 
would appear that both these elements are included. We may 
say either that the Servant is llic true ideal of Israel illustrated 

' Driver and Neubauer, 0/. cit. Vol. n. p. i_:;8. 


in one conspicuous representative, or that he is an individual 
whose experience is transfigured in the liglit of the larger view in 
which the conception originated. National and personal features 
interpenetrate each other in a way that baffles analysis, the two 
being merged in a common medium of figurative delineation 
which it is impossible to assign definitely to the one or to the 
other; the former aspect appears in the resurrection of the 
Ser%-ant and his elevation to national power and glory, the latter 
in the train of thought evoked by the spectacle of his career. 
Whether there might be, in addition to this, a conscious expecta- 
tion in the mind of the prophet that a Messianic personage w^ould 
arise in the future answering to this portrait, depends on how far 
we may suppose the personification to be carried. Every true 
ideal in religion may be said to contain an implicit prediction of 
its own fulfilment, and in that sense the idea of the Servant is a 
prophecy of Him in whom it was to be realised. But there is one 
suggestion which would perhaps enable us, without sacrificing the 
historic aspects of the. conception, to regard it as a direct and 
conscious prediction of the Messiah. Cheyne at one time identified ■ 
the Servant of the Lord with the " Genius of Israel," an invisible 
yet real being who is the type of all that is of eternal value in the 
life of Israel, and yet is so incorporated in the nation that its 
actual history is his personal experience. If Cheyne was right in 
thinking that this theory " is in harmony with ancient Oriental 
and especially Jewish modes of thought " — and it is there that 
the difficulty lies — one might venture a step further and hold 
that the prophet expected this transcendent being to appear in 
person, as the central figure of history, to dehver Israel and 
inaugurate the perfect kingdom of God on earth. Such a theory 
has one advantage over others : while conserving the historic 
character of the Servant it gives a meaning to his function as the 
restorer of Israel from exile which no collective or ideal interpreta- 
tion quite succeeds in explaining. 

There remains, however, the question of the relation between 
the ideal Servant of the four poems and the Ser\-ant-Israel of 
chh. xl.— xlviii. That they are not in all respects identical is 
universally admitted ; and if there be a Messianic reference of 
any kind in the poems it is almost certain that they are of earlier 
date than the rest of the prophecy; for the expectation that a 
Messiah should arise and be the agent of deliverance from captivity 
is only comprehensible at a time when emancipation was not 
immediately in sight. We have seen (p. 262 f. ) that other considera- 
tions point to this conclusion, which makes a directly Messianic 
reference in the poems all the more credible. In what sense then 
did II Isaiah understand the poems when he embodied them in 
his prophecy? Did he, as '^plHn fhinl^g rlfUhprafpiy •< transfer" 
the ideal to the actual people, in so-faiLa s it was su sceptible ol 
such ^ roaitica tion, as exhibiting theirtrue destiny, and as a 


ground of encou ragem ent and hope^? We ha ve no sp ace to 
discus th£Ljx>injELj3 uFon the whole we are inclined to agre e that 
that is w hat took pla ce" The idea of the Servant, if we have 
rightly explained it, had from its inception a national a spect; 
and it required only a certain shifting of emphasis from the id eal 
aspec t to the c ollective to enable the great prophet of the close 
of the Exile to find in the conception a pledge of Israel's present 
relation to Jehovah, and of its future glorious mission when 
redeemed from sin and bondage by His mighty arm. 

1 Staerk takes the same view, but with the important difiference that 
he regards the transference as due not to II Isaiah, but to a later 
editor, who composed the additional verses, xlii. 5 — 7, xlix. 7 — 12, 
1. 10, II, lii. 13^15 to bridge the gap. We cannot find evidence of 
any such editorial purpose. With the possible exception of xlix. 7 
the Servant of the addenda is the same as in the poems : if the one be 
Israel so is the other, but if one be an individual the other is also. 

*^* The following are the publications (other than commentaries, 
etc) referred to in the above discussion : Bertholet, Zii Jesaja Jj : 
£in Erklart(ngsverstick{iB<)()) ; Budde, Die sogenannten Ebed-Jah-ive- 
Lieder (1900); Burney, The Book of Isaiah: A New Theory, II 
(Church Quarterly Review, Oct. 1912, pp. 99 — 139); Cheyne, Sacred 
Books of Old and New Testament: Isaiah (1898); Jewish Religious 
Life after the Exile (1898) ; Condamin, Le Servitenr de Jahvd (Revue 
Biblique, Apr. i, 1908) ; Davidson, Three articles in Expositor, Oct., 
Nov., Dec. 1884, pp. 250 — 269, 351 — 361, 430 — 451 ; Driver and 
Neubauer, The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah according to the Jewish 
Interpreters [i^'tf) ; Giesebrecht, Der Knecht Jahtves des Deuterojesaia 
(1902) ; Van Hoonacker, The Servant of the Lord in Isaiah xl.ff. 
(Expositor, March, 1916, pp. 183 — 210); Kennett, The Servant of the 
Lord (19 11); Kcinig, The Exiles' Book of Consolation (1899); Laue, 
Die Ebedfahioe Liedcr iin II Theil des Jesaia (iHgH) ; Nochinals die 
Ebedjahwc-Lieder iin Deuterojesaja (Studien und Kritiken, 1904, 
pp. 319 — 379) ; Ley, Historische Erkldrimg des zweiten Teils des 
/esaia (1893) ; Peake, The Proble?n of Suffering in the Old Testament, 
Appendix C'(r904); Rothstein, Sticdien und Kritiken, 1902, pp. 282 — ■ 
336; Roy, Israel und die Welt in Jesaja 40 — 55 (1903) ; Schian, Die 
Ebedfahwe-Lieder injes. 40—66 (1895) ; Sellin, Studien zur Entsteh- 
iingsgeschichte der jiidischen Gemeinde nacJi dem habylonischen Exit: 
I. Der Knecht Gottes bei Deuterojesaja (1901) ; Das Rat set des deutero- 
jesajanischen Buches (1908) ; Staerk, Die Ebedfahive Lieder (1913) ; 
Zillessen, Israel in Darstelliing und Beurteilung Deuterojesajas 
(Zeitschr. flir die alttest. Wissensch. 1904, pp. 251 — 295). 



^Abdment, 138 

'dbir (Mighty One), xxiii, no 

Abraham, Ivii, 16 f., 21, 117 f., 

218, 224 
Absalom, 145; " A.'s hand," 165 
Achor, \'alley of, 236 
'Adonai, 105 
Adonis, 276 f. 
adultery, idolatry compared to, 

adversaries of Jehovah, Ixvi, 193 
agriculture, allusions to, xxxix 
Ahrinian, 66 
Ahuramazda, 66 
akzab, 185 

aliens, see "stranger"' 
'a/ tashhcth, 236 
"angel of the Presence," 221 
" anoint," 205 ; " anointed," 64 
anthropomorphism, Iv, 35, 109 f., 

131, 192 f., 214 ff. 
antimony, 154 
Antiochus Epiphanes, 174, 230, 

271 f. 
Anzan, xxxv 
'rtr/z, 109 
ann of Jehovah, xlviii, Ixiii, Ixvi, 

93, 117, 119, 121 f., 131, i37f., 

192, 223 
Arrian quoted, 131 
Artaxerxes I, II, xlii, Ixxiii 
Artaxerxes Ochus, Ixxiii, 220 
ariikah, ^arika, 183 
ashes, 58, 206 
astrologers, 86 
Astyages, xxxv f., Ixxiii 
atonement, vicarious, xlix, lix. 

132 f., i4of., 144, 147, 149 f., 
265, 267,270, 276; Day of, 180 

audition, prophetic, 3, 137 

authorship, problems of, xv-xxxi 

''azkarah, 247 

''aziibah, 2 to 

Baal, 76, 172; "Face of," 221; 
bd-al (="man7," or "pos- 
sess"), 211 

Baal-Gad, 237 

Babylon, Cyrus and, xxxv ff. (see 
Cyrus) ; fall of, xxxix, Ixxiii, 
16, 40, 45, 62, 7j;-8o; ode on, 
80-87; departure from, x, xl, 
xlii, 96, T32, 162 f. 

balance, 8, 10, 78 

bamdh, 145 

ban, 51 

bard', XXV, see "create" 

bassi'r, 6, 130, 205 

bazir, 2 1 6 

bed = bier, 170 

Bel, xxxvi, 76 

Ben Sira, xxxiii, Ixix ff., 224 

berilh, 32 

Beth essentiae, 6, 71 

Beulah, 210 

blind, spiritually, 33, 36, 42, i68 

Borsippa, 76 

bow, 253 

Bozrah, 215 

branding slaves, custom of, 52 

calamus odoratus, 49 
Cambyses, xxxvii, Ixxiii, 41 
camels, 198 



Canaanit ish heathenism, 1 7 1 

Canon, prophetic, Ixx f. 

canonisation, see redaction 

Carchemish, battle of, Ixxiii 

Chaldea, Chaldean, Chaldeans, 
XX, 45, 81, 96, 251 

characteristic expressions of Isaiah, 
xxvi ; of II Isaiah, xxivff. ; of 
III Isaiah, xxx 

children, Eastern mode of carry- 
ing, 197 

China, 104 

" circle of the earth," i2f. 

circumcision, 164 f. 

coastlands, see isles 

"coming things, "see "newthings" 

" comers," 21 

cosmology, Babylonian, 43 f. 

court style of Babylon, xxxviii, 
64. 275 

"covenant of the people," 32, 
102; New C, 157, 159, 165, 
195, 208 

covetousness, 178 

"create," use of the word, 13, 40, 
67, 72, 90, 179 

creation, xx. If., 7, 14, 66, 68 f., 
72, 240 

Croesus, xxxvi f , Ixxiii, 16, 65 

" cry " = prophesy, 4 f., 53 

cuneiform inscriptions, references 
to, xxxiv, xxxvi, 44 f., 63 f, 
65 f., 76 fif., 199, 253 

cup of indignation, 125 f, 12S, 

Cyrus, original form of name, 
62 f. ; oracles concerning, 60- 
75 ; instrument of Jehovah, 
xlvii, lii, Ixiii, 16-18, 26, 41 ; 
career of. xvii, xxxv-xxxvii, 16 ; 
prophecies fulfilled in him, xx, 
2/1 3,S> 4.^1 7.S, 78 f-; honorific 
titles of, xlvii, 63, 66, 93 f. ; 
religion of, xxxvf., id, xlvii f., 
26, 65 f. ; rejection of, 68 

Darius I, xlii, Ixxiii 

David, house of, 157, 159 f.; 

" Last Words of, " 159 f.; "mer- 
cies of," ib. 

dawn, in poetry, 183 

death, O.T. feeling regarding, 
170, 241 

deliverance from Babylon, xlvii f., 
liv, I, 39 ff., 45-47' 61, 70, 
132 f., et passim 

dercioii, 255 

derSr, 205 

desert, "region of darkness," 36; 
distinguished from " wilder- 
ness," 47 

Deuteronomy, 254 ; D. law, 165 

dill (Arab.), 30 

Diodorus (juoted, 85 

' ' direct " = regulate, 8 f. 

"disciples," 113 f., ijr, 155- 

Dispersion, the, xxix ; ingathering 
of, 42, 166 f., 213 

diviners, influence of, in Babylon, 
61, 84 

divisions of the book, ix ff. 

divorcement, bill of, no f. 

Doderlein referred to, xvi 

dor, 143 

"double," 3, 207, 267 

doves, "mourning" of, 190; ships 
compared to, 199 

Dragon, 121 f. 

dromedaries, 198, 254 

dust, emblem of humiliation, 108 f. 

dying god, 276 f. 

eagle, 15, 79 
Ecbatana, xl 
edict of emancipation, xxxix f. , 

xlii, 132, 249 
Edom, day of vengeance in, 

Egypt, xxxvi, Ivi, Ixxiii, 41, 70, 

121, 246, 268 
'<?/, II ; ha-'el, 31 
Elam, XXXV, 26 
Eleazar, 271 

election of Israel, Ivi, Iviii, 272 
^eleph, 203 
Elephantine, 246 



^t^liltrn, xxvi 

embassies, political, 174 

"end" or"ends of the earth," xxv, 

21. 34 

Enoch, book of, 241 

Ephah, 198 

'ephes, xxv 

Eshmunazar, 170 

Ethiopia, Ivi, 41, 70, 268 

eunuchs, admission of, to cove- 
nant blessings, 163 ff. 

Euphrates, 45, 95 

Evangelist, prophet as, 205 ff. 

evangelists, see messengers 

evil, moral and physical, 67 

Evil-Merodach, Ixxiii, 274 

" exactors," 202 

Exile, conditions in, xxxiii ff. 

Exodus, the, Ivii, 4, 21, 45, 112, 
121 f., 132, 222, 226,268; the 
New, 96, 132, 162, 212 

"eye to eye," 13 r 

Ezekiel, xlviii, Ixvi, 88, (ji, 130, 

251 f-> 273 
Ezra, xliii, Ixxiii, 220, 231, 
272 f. 

" Eace," of Jehovah, 188, 221; 

of Baal, 22 1 
fast-days, fasting, i79ff. 
Fatherhood of God, 218, 224, 

fetishes, 172 f. 
fire, emblem of war, 39 
fire-brands, 1 16 
firmament, ancient conception of, 

footstool of Jehovah, 244 
foreigners, admission to covenant 

blessings, 163-167, 200, 254 f. 
forgiveness, xlviii, i, 3, 48 f., 50, 

.-9. 177 f- 
"former thmgs,'' 25, 33, 43, 46, 

87 ff., 240 
frankincense, 49, 199, 247 
"fruit of the lips," 179 
fury, divine, 126, 250; in other 

connexions, 123 

gti'a/, xxv, see redeem 

Gad, 237 f. 

CJalli, mutilation of, 165 

gardens, sacred, 232, 251 

garland, 206, 208 

Gaza, " Fortune " of, 237 

Gehenna, Jewish conception of, 

255 f- 

Gentiles, Israel's relation to, Ixii- 
Ixvi, 108, 196, 200 f., 206 f., 
250; God's purpose towards, 
Ivf., Ixiii-lxvi, 30, 33, 71 ff., 
loi ; " light of," 30, 101 

Gerizim, Mt, 173, 245 

girdle, 106 

glory, of God, 4, 33 f., 42, 80, 184, 
194, 197, 199, 224, 252 f.; of 
Israel, 203, 210"; = wealth, 207, 
249 f. ; use in Isaiah, xxvi 

gnats, 120 

God, idea and attributes of, xx f., 

Go'c/, 23, see redeem 

grape cluster, figure of the, 229, 

235 f- 
grasshoppers, 13 
graves, custom of sitting in, 233 
guilt-oftering, 147 

Iladad-Rimmon, 276 
hadariya (Arab.), villagers, 34 
Hadramaut, 49 
Haggai, xliii f., Ixxiii, 245 
"hand," Absalom's, 165; "hand," 

shadow of, 99, 124 
hdrtiz, 23 
ijtisSdim, 272 
Ilauran, Greek inscriptions of the, 

heathen, conversion of, xii, Ixii, 

33, 232, 260, 266, 274 
helek, halke, 172 f. 
Jiephez, see "pleasure" • 

Hephzibah, 210 
Herodotus referred to, 41, 45, 62, 

65, 237 
"high and lofty One, ' 177 
"high places," 231, 235 



" highway," miraculous, xli, xlvi, 
J, 4, 17, 24,40,46, 96, 103, 177 
hillel, hil lull til, 212 
Hinnom, Valley of, 2^^ i. 
holiness of Jehovah, lii, 13 
"holy city," xxvi, 89, 128 
" holy of Jehovah " (of the Sab- 
bath), 186 
"Holy One of Israel," xxiii, 68, 

holy Spirit, 221 ft". 
Horace quoted, 57, 190 
Hosts, Lord of, see Jehovah 
hozim, hoztni, 169 
Husband ofZion, Jehovah as, 15 ifl'. 

Ibn Ezra, xvi, 17, 70, 266 

idolatry, polemic against, 1 ff., 8, 
II f., 16, 19 f., 54 ff., 78, 87; 
compared to adultery, 173 ; 
household • — , ibid. ; nations 
renounce, xlviif. , 70 ff. ; idols, 
deportation of, xxxvii, 75 ft.; 
manufacture of, 11 f., 19 f., 
55 ff., 78; challenged by Jeho- 
vah, 25 ff., 42 ff. ; idolaters, 
confusion of, 36, 71 

image, graven, 11, 55, 73 

immortality, idea of, 241 

iiicomparableness'of Jehovah, xx, 
1, 7 f., 10 f., 13, 78 

incubation, custom of, 233 

" inquire" of Jehovah, 181 

"interpreters," 50 

Isaianic authorship of chh. xl- 
Ixvi, ix, xvi-xxviii, Ixviii f. 

isles, islands, 10, 17,35, 119, 193, 

199 f-' 253 

^ipiia (Arab.), 25 

Israel, name, 51 ; mission and 
place in history, lii, Iv-lviii, 2, 
20 ff., 36 ff., 119, 124 f. ct 
passim ; religious primacy or 
piie,sthood of, Ixiii ff., 206 f., 
214; spiritual — , Ix, 270 f.; 
— as Servant of Jehovah, lixf., 
28 ft"., 97 ff. , 265 "ft". ; Genius of, 

'iyyiiH, XXV, ro, 17, 35, 98, 
193, 199 f., 253 


Jacob, 50 f., 52 

Jarchi quoted, see Rashi 

Jashar, book of, 51 

Javan, 253 

jealousy, 35, 224 

Jehoiachin, Ixxiii, 263, 274'ff". 

Jehovah, — of Hosts, xxvi, 13, 53, 
82, 124; unique Godhead of, 
see monotheism 

Jeremiah, xlviii, Ixviii f., 62, 113, 
IJ5 f., 126, 142, 1S4, 222 f., 
273> 275, 279 

Jerome referred to, 233 

Jerusalem, personification of, 
xxxiv, xxxix, xli, 2, 104ft'., 
125 ft'., i5ofr.; glory and pro- 
sperity of the New, xl, Ixiv, 

, 195-214 ; see Zion 
Jcshnriin, 51 

Jesus, son of Sirach, see Ben Sira 

Job, parallels with, 135, 139 ft'., 
150, 170 

Jonah, book of, 272 

Josephus quoted or referred to, 
41, 63, 69, 245 

Jubilee, 205 

judgement = right, 10, 14, 100, 
189; = judicial process, 17; 
= religion, 30, 119; in other 
connexions, 143, 190 f. 

Jupiter, planet, 238 

justice, abuses of, i87f. 

Justin, 277 

A'ddosh, lii, 13 

kanek, 49, 78 

Kedar, 34, 199 

kOii, kiiiiidli, kinni»i, i 20 

Kimchi, 266 

kiiidh (rhythm), 22, 61, 8of., 125 f. 

knig. Messianic, xxi, 64, 160, 278 

kishshitr'im, 106 

Koran referred to, 238 

kubba''ath, 126 

kunya (Arab.), 52 



labourers, oppression of, 182 

law, see torCili 

Law, introduction of, xliii, Ixxiii ■ 

lawsuits, 188 

" leader " = prince, 161 

Lebanon, 10, 200 f. 

lehdnah, 49 

loctisternia, 257 f, 

leper, leprosy, 139 ff-, i44> 275, 

Levites, 254 f. 

" liars, tokens of the," 61 

"libL-rty,"useof word in O.T., 205 

light, emblem of salvation, 183, 
195 ff. ; of the Xew Jerusalem, 
202 ; of the nations, Ixiii f., 33, 


Livy referred to, 237 
• Luck, the greater and the 

lesser," 238 
Lud, Lydia, Lydians, xxxvi, 253 

Maccabees, xxxiif., 271 f. 
magic, Babylonian, 6r, 84 f. 
Ma"lachi, xxx, xliii f., Ixxiii, 168, 

Matak Yahveh, 221 

Mandt, 238 

mai-ak, 233 

Maiduk, see Merodach 

mashiah, 64 

massC'kah, 1 1 

inatnion, 6^ 

mehass'r, mebasscreth, see hasser 

Media, Medes, xxxv, 16, 26 

Melek, 174 ^^ 

" memorial," 173 

Meni, 237 f. 

merchants, 86 

Merodach, xxxvi, xxxix, 63, 76 

Meroe, 41 

Meshech, Moschi, Muski, 253 

nieshtdlam, 37 

messengers, i, 6, 27, 62, 130, 221 

Messiah, personal, Ix ff., 64, 160, 

261, 276, 277 f.; see Cyrus 
Messiani.c hopes, xliii, 160, 230, 


" meted out," 8 f. 

iiiidhi'ir, 47 

Midianites, 198 

Migdal-Gad, 237 

Milkom, 175 

Milton quoted, 65 

" minister," 166, 199^ 

mirage, 103 

mhhpdt, 10, 17, 30, 27s 

Moabite Stone, 183 

Mohammed, 5, 197 

Molech, 174, 235 

monotheism, 1, Ixvi, 43 f., 54, /')6, 

monument (to eunuclis), 165 f. 
mdra^, 23 

Moses, 222 f.; M. law, iiof. 
mo slim, 37 
moth, 115, 121 
mourning, of the dove, 190; garb 

of, 112; mourners, 179, 203, 

206, 249 
mouse, in sacrificial meals, 252 
" multitude," 19S 
mural crown, 210 

lldhf , 76 

Nabonidus, xxxiv, xxxvi, Ixxiii, 

76 f. 
7idgid, 161 

nations, see Gentiles 
nature, transformation of, 240 ff., 

Nebaioth, Nabateans, 199 
Nebo, xxxvi, 76 
Nebuchadnezzar, xxxiv, xlii, Ixxiii, 

64, 76, 274 f. 
Nehemiah, xxix, xliif., Ixxni, 168, 

220 ; governorship of, 192, 196 
"new things," xxxvii, 25, 33, 46, 

87 ff. 
Noah, covenant of, 154 f. 
}i6scs, 194 
" nursing fathers," roS 

•oaks, 172, 206 

oath, Jehovah's by Ilim.seif, 74, 
106 ; to Noah, 154 



oblation, 11 f., £73, 247 

offering, see oblation 

"oil tree'" ( = oleaster), 24 

^oren, 57 

Origen, 265 f. 

Ovid referred to, 65 

Palestine, tree-worship in, 172 ; 
mystic societies in, 234 ; pro- 
phecies written in, xxviii f., 
xliiiff., 163 f., 168, 171, 187, 
196, 219 f., 230 f. 

Palmyrene inscriptions, 237 

pdrak, 233 

paronomasia, 153, 206 

Peace, 95, 250; personified, 

Pelusium, xxxix, 104 

pc^ullah = recompence, xxiv, 6, 100 

Persia, xxxv, 16 

pheli 1 1 

Petra, 34 

phallus- worship, 173 f- 

Phut, 253 

pilgrimages, 174 

" planting the heavens," 124 

" pleasure " = purpose, 63, 79) 93) 
147; =business, 181, 186 

Pliny referred to, 49, 199 

potter, 68, 228 

Prelude, see Prologue 

priests, xxix, 2, 132, 168, 207, 

processions, religious, 76, 132 
prognosticators, 86 ; see diviners 
Prologue to II Isaiah, xlvi, i ff., 

117, 125, 176 
prophecy, ideal standpoint in, 

xvii f. ; argument from, xix f., 

39, 53 ff. ; spirit of, 222 
prophets, function of, xlv, 30, 

180 f.; hireling, xxix, 169 
proselytes, ^2, 163 ff-; sacrifices 

of, 166 
Ptolemy, 198 
pfikh, 154 
Pul, see Phut 
pur ah, 216 

Kaliab, 121 f. 
ransom, 41, 70 
Rashi, 49, 266 

recompence, see pc'ulldh 

redaction of the book, Ixvii-lxxii 

redeem, redeemer, liv, 22, 45 f-, 
129, 153, 195 

" remembrance," see "memorial" 

" report," 137 

Restoration, period of, xli ff. 

retribution, future, 255 f. 

7-fshdndtk, 25, 89 

righteousness of God, liii f., 18, 
22, 27, 32, 38, 67,69, 72, 74 f., 
79 f., 193, 216; of Israel, 20, 
95, 118, 120, 164, 176, 202, 
210, 227 

Rock, 54, 118 

Riickert referred to, ix 

Sabbath-observance, 163 ff., 179 ff. 

Sabeans, 70 

sacrifice, 47 f., 246 ; of proselytes, 
166; human, in Israel, 172, 
246 f. 

sagad, 57, 78 

sdgdii, 27 

salvation, idea of, xlvi-1, liv, 260 ; 
hindrances to Israel's, 186 ff.; 
= welfare, 67 f. ; = righteous- 
ness, liv, 79 f., ii9ff., 164; 
universal, xlv fF., Ivi, Ixiii f. , 
72 ff., 119, 124, et passim 

Samaritans, xxx,xlii, xlivf. , 171 ff., 
212, 220, 225," 231 ff., 243 fif. 

Sardis, xxxvi f., Ixxiii, 65 

sds, 121 

scales, 9 

sea, in Heb. poetry, 122, 124 

Seba, Ivi, 41, 268 

Sela, 34 

Septuagint, xxxiii, Ixix ff. 

Servant of Jehovah, xlix, Iv-lxiii, 
Ixvi ; collective theories of, 265- 
273; individual theories, 273- 
278; mythical theory, 276 f. ; 
Israel as, Ivi-lx, 16, 21, 28 ff., 
31. 36-39- 43 ff-. 51 ff-. 59. 66, 



124 f., 263, 265-270; ideal, 
lix f., 2, 2ijff., 50, ij6i)'., 112- 
ii6, 132-150, 204, 268-270, 
278 f. 
Servant-passages, xlviiif. , 29 ff., 
102, 112 ff., 132 ff. ,204; genuine- 
ness of, 257-263; anonymity of, 
servants of Jehovah, 157, 166; 

= prophets, 62 
Shakespeare quoted, 170, 182 
shakiiu (Ass.), 27 
Sharon, plain of, 236 
Sheba, igSf. 
sheep-dogs, 169 
Sheol, 175 

shepherd, Jehovah as, Iv, 7 ; as 
lionorilic title = ruler, 63, 66; 
unworthy, 167 IT. ; referring to 
Moses, 222 
Sheshbazzar, xl, xlii, Ixxiii 
sh^zeph kizeph, 153 
" ships of rejoicing," 45 
Sin (Pelusium), 104 
.Sinim, xxxix, 104 
Sirach, son of, see Ben Sira 
sirocco, 5, 103 
sir pad, 162 
slavery, slaves, xxix, xxxiv, 52, 

III, 182 
Soncino Bible, 217, 251 
sorceress, sorcery, 61, 85 f., 171 
soul, spirit, the principle of life, 

32, 178 
spirit of God, Ivii, 9, 32, 51 ff., 93, 

187, 195, 203 ff. 
spirituality of religion, 245 
"spoil, divide," 148 f. 
"sprinkle many nations," 135 
"standard, lift up," 194 
"stouthearted," 79 
"stranger," 44, 164, 200, 207 
stroke (of God's hand), 140, 144 
style and language, evidence of, 

xxi ff. 
"surname," 52, 66 
swine, imcleanness of, 233, 252 
Syene, 104 

taboo, 234 

'I'adnior, centre of caravan trade, 

Taniinuz, 276 

Tanit, 221 

tail II hi, 122 

ta^tiiiith, 182 

Tarsliisli (Tartessus), sliips of, 200, 

tattooing, 52 

fehoiii, 122, 223 

Temple, the, house of prayer, Ixv, 
166; desecration of, xliv, 219, 
225; rebuilding of, xlii, xlviii, 
Ixxiii, 62 f. ; existence presup- 
posed, xliv, 163 f., 199, 212, 
237, 248; schismatic, 243 ff. 

(I'liithiah, 1 1 f. 

terebinths, 171 f., 206 

Tertullian, 277 

tcrumah, i r 

theological conceptions, xx f., xlv- 

theophany, 194, 225 f., 250 f. 

Thoralchrcr, 271, 273 

threshing-instrument, 23 

throne, Jehovah's, 244 

TPamat, 122 

/'^//rf = chaos, xxiv, ro, 72 

torah, xxiii, 31, 38, 119, 275 

trees, for the Temple, 200 f. ; of 
righteousness, 206 

tree-worship, 172 

Trito-Isaiah, xxix, xxxi, xliii, Iv, 
Ixiv ff., Ixvii f., 163 ff., 185, 213, 

Tubal, Tibareni, Tabal, 253 

unguents, ritual use of, 174 
unitv of the prophecy, xxviii f., 

xfiii '^•i. 
'nth, 1 14 

vanity = nothingness, 10, 13, 26, 
55 ; see lohu ; =idol, 26, 247 

vengeance, day of, Iv, Ixvi, 205 f., 
243; on the Edomites, 214-218 

Venus, planet, 238 



vintage feast, 212 ; songs, -236 
\'irgil quoted, 56 

'vabariya ( = nomads, Arab.), 34 

wadis, 95, 171 f. 

" warfare," 1 

warrior, Jehovah as, 35, 109 f., 

131, 187, 193 
watchmen, city, 131 ; = prophets, 

168 ; =invisibleguards, 209, 21 1 
watfer-sellers, 158 
well, access to a, 158 
wife, Zion the — of Jehovah, 

151 ff. 
wife of youth, 153 
wild beasts, heathen compared to, 

167 f. 
wine-press, 215 ff. 
witness, Israel as, Ivii, 39, 42 ff., 

S3f. ; David as, to the nations, 

160 f. 
Wordsworth quoted, 197 
work, recompence, hqq J^c'iillah 
worm, 121 
wrath, divine, 1 26 f. , 153, 178, 

215, 250, 270 

Xenophon referred to, 41, 65, 

yahad, yahddv, xxiv 

Yahveh, 127 
yashdr, 51 
Yeb, 180, 246 

Yeshtmoii, 47 
yoke, bands of, 183 

zaddik, 27, 104 f. 

zaniah, xxv 

zar, 194, 221 

zeal, see jealousy 

Zechariah, xliiif., Ixxiii, iSo, 

zedek, zedakah, xxiv, 18, 67 
Zedekiah, Ixxiii 

Zerubbabel. xHiif. , 219, 229, 274 
Zion, personification of, 6, 96 f. ; 

104 ff., 125 ff., 130 f., r^off., 

felicity of, 104-110, 125-132, 

151-157, 195-214 

Zir, 22 1 

ziz, 249 _ 
Zoroastrianism, xxxv, 66 

Cambridge: printed by j. b. peace, m.a., at the univeksitv press 



BS Bible. O.T. Isiah. English. 

1513 1915. Revised 

35 The book of the prophet 

1915 Isaiah 


cop. 2